Memorial park the first to be nominated
LOCAL history officer Beth Wilson enjoys talking to school groups about Gympie's Memorial Park, which she has nominated as a heritage wonder in the Arts, Culture and Memorials section of the National Trust's book to celebrate Gympie's sesquicentenary next year.
"As we also celebrate the centenary of the First World War we're reminded of the historic and heritage significance of this unusual memorial," Ms Wilson said.
"It's located in Nash Gully, Gympie's original alluvial goldfield.
"Ferguson and Henderson's Union Sawmill then occupied the site, and in 1919 the Henderson family donated the land for the park and an access to Mary St through Memorial Lane.
"The Prince of Wales visited the Park in 1920, and it was officially opened by Gympie's First World War General, Sir William Glasgow, in 1921.
"In true Gympie style, the park, bandstand, paths, gardens and Memorial Gates were financed by public subscription, and the project was paid for by the time the park was opened.
"During the past 95 years, memorials to honour participants in the Boer War, the Second World War, and recent conflicts, such as the Vietnam War, have been installed in the park and the lane.
"Although the park no longer displays field guns or houses air raid shelters, its features include the original James Nash Memorial (once a fountain outside the Town Hall), and a tribute on the bandstand to an early bandmaster, F.T. Percival.
"Well maintained and well used, Memorial Park shows that the people of the Gympie region have not forgotten the sacrifices of the past."
A pamphlet on the history of Memorial Park and Memorial Lane is available at the Gympie Regional Library.