New E-petition circulating

Published by Peter Collins on

ABOVE: No longer just a bikeway and pedestrian crossing, the nine-year-old “Toowong Cycle and Pedestrian Overpass” (adjacent to Legacy Way and straddling the Western Freeway) will soon link Toowong Cemetery’s Canon Garland Place and Anzac Park, via the sprawling Brisbane City Council-controlled Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha. Now’s the time to officially name the overpass joining all these incredible civic assets after the “the Architect of Anzac Day”: Chaplain Lieutenant-Colonel the Reverend Canon David John Garland OBE (1869-1939), and in honour of The Fallen of the Great War (1914-1918). Photo courtesy of Peter Rasey.

Honouring the legend

“Coo-ee!” Would you like to see the Queenslander who gave Anzac Day to the world prominently honoured in Brisbane’s western suburbs this Centenary of Armistice year?

Click the link below to open the Queensland Parliament E-Petition and join the grassroots campaign to make this proposed tribute a reality:

https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/petition-details?id=2997

This E-Petition closes on 12 October 2018.

BACKGROUND

Queensland’s State Parliament is being asked to rebadge the Toowong Cycle and Pedestrian Overpass, in Brisbane western suburbs, to reflect the surrounding area’s unique significance as the cradle of the movement which became Australia’s most beloved institution: “Anzac Day”.

Canon Garland Memorial Society Incorporated supports the community-lead push to see this prominent State Government-built pathway renamed – “Canon Garland and Anzac Memorial Cycle and Pedestrian Overpass”– to honour the memory of the “Architect of ANZAC Day”, First AIF volunteer chaplain Lieutenant-Colonel, the Reverend Canon David John Garland OBE (1864-1939).

A LONG TIME COMING

Constructed between July 2008 and March 2009 by contractors engaged by the Queensland Department of Main Roads (the “DMR”) on behalf of Queensland Transport, this $5.4 million overpass physically links Toowong’s sprawling Anzac Park and adjacent Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha to the Western Freeway Bikeway.

The catalyst for the creation of the bikeway and overpass was local community agitation and consultations that began at least a dozen years ago.

The-then Member for Mount Coot-tha (and Local Government Minister), the Hon. Andrew Fraser MP, lobbied the Beattie Labor Government hard for the project, and on 31 May 2006 he and then Transport and Main Roads Minister, the Hon. Paul Lucas MP, made a joint funding announcement, describing it as “a victory for the local community”.

Mr Fraser continued: “This has been an issue for a generation and today’s announcement is sensational news for the local community and indeed for cyclists from afar.

“The Toowong Roundabout has acted like a giant roadblock for pedestrians and cyclists and this project will greatly enhance safety and link up major local destinations, such as Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, Anzac Park, the Western Freeway Bikeway and Toowong State School.

“I want to thank everyone who has assisted me in putting the case for this project: especially local residents and cycling groups who joined the campaign. It was a genuine community effort and today it has all paid off.”

ABOVE: What it was going to be, according to a DMR brochure produced in 2008.

The wheels of government ground slowly on and two years later, this was how DMR characterised its intention to start construction work on the overpass associated with the Western Freeway Bikeway in late 2008:

ABOVE: Another excerpt from that DMR brochure, talking up the “vision” for the Toowong Cycle and Pedestrian Overpass (as it is still called).

Roll forward some nine years and now extensive and complementary pathway and ramp construction work is under way by Brisbane City Council contractors and staff along Mount Coot-tha Road.

This means the route, which stretches beyond Moggill Road and straddles the Western Freeway, is surging eastwards and northwards into historic Toowong Cemetery, and it will soon link up with other citybound civic bike and pedestrian pathways.

Right at the base where the imposing, 60-metre-long, 6.2-metre-high freeway crossing lands is the Brisbane World Expo ’88 Rainforest Grove, which is in the midst of a spruce-up as part of the 30th anniversary of the staging of World Expo 88 at what is now Brisbane’s Southbank Parklands.

ABOVE: The Brisbane City Council’s welcome sign for the “Brisbane World Expo ’88 Rainforest Grove”, located on the eastern landing side of the overpass at Toowong. Photo courtesy of Peter Rasey.

The Avenue of Honour upgrade inside Toowong’s Anzac Park, along with work under way alongside Toowong Cemetery is rapidly fine-tuning a historical and botanical “must-see” precinct for tourists and Brisbane locals.

LET’S MAKE THIS HAPPEN

Now is the perfect moment for the Queensland State Government, in conjunction with Brisbane City Council, to seize the moment and synthesize all these elements into one overarching theme – “Remembrance of The Fallen”.

Renaming the overpass would add a permanent tribute in the Centenary Year of the Signing of the Armistice that ended the Great War on 11 November 1918, on behalf of future generations of Queenslanders.

World War I directly claimed the lives of 61,513 Australian Defence Force personnel, and consigned a further 8,000 returned soldiers, sailors and airmen to die prematurely from war-related causes in the years following.

Anzac Park — one of the first civic spaces of its kind in the world — and the State’s largest cemetery share a connection to the Queenslander who gave Anzac Day to the world.

In response to the dreadful toll of dead, wounded and missing in the wake of the landings at Gallipoli in The Dardanelles in 1915, local Church of England cleric, Canon Garland, on 10 January 1916, was tasked by the people of Brisbane with devising the format for a solemn civic commemoration to honour and remember The Fallen.

First held on 25 April 1916, Anzac Day is observed throughout the world and holds a unique place in the heart of all Australians and New Zealanders.

For some 18 years until 1939, Canon Garland conducted an Anzac Day commemorative observance at Toowong Cemetery, the final resting place for 275 World War I and 120 World War II veterans.

After a lifetime of service to the community, he was buried in Toowong Cemetery, not far from The Stone of Remembrance and The Sword of Sacrifice — which, on 25 April 1924, were unveiled by the Governor-General as Australia’s first “national” Anzac Memorial, thanks to Canon Garland’s tireless advocacy.

In November 2015 this area near the main gates was renamed “Canon Garland Place” by Brisbane City Council.

Legacy Way” tunnel — named in honour of the organisation founded after World War I to care for the children of deceased service personnel — is located adjacent to the overpass and runs beneath Toowong Cemetery.

Canon Garland Memorial Society urges all Queenslanders to add their voice to calls for Toowong Cycle and Pedestrian Overpass to be finally given a memorable name that befits the exceptional national, cultural and historical significance of the places it now links.

A name that symbolically expresses Queensland’s pivotal role in the creation of Anzac Day itself and honours the estimated 58,000 men and women who enlisted in Queensland during World War I, commends itself.

PLEASE SIGN THE E-PETITION TODAY!

ABOVE: The line (marked in yellow) now being transformed by the extension of Brisbane City Council-built pathways and ramps along the southern fringe of historic Toowong Cemetery. Soon, this long-anticipated infrastructure will unite the magnificent and unique, Anzac Park, the Mount-Coot-tha Botanic Gardens and Canon Garland Place, providing easy, continuous bike/pedestrian access from inner-Brisbane, to out along the Western Freeway Cycleway. Canon Garland Place is where Australia’s first “national” Anzac Memorial – The Stone of Remembrance and The Cross of Sacrifice – were established in 1924 through the tireless advocacy of Canon Garland. This overlay was based a 2017 Google Maps image.

ABOVE: The view from the southern edge of Toowong Cemetery, overlooking Mount Coot-tha Road, towards the Toowong Bike and Pedestrian Overpass. Photo courtesy of Peter Rasey.

ABOVE: A view of the Brisbane City Council pedestrian and bikeway ramp construction work under way alongside Mount Coot-tha Road, heading eastwards, set into the southern slopes of historic Toowong Cemetery. In the middle distance can be seen the trees growing in Anzac Park and the stunning adjoining Botanical Gardens. Photo courtesy of Peter Rasey.

ABOVE and BELOW: The Toowong Overpass, as seen a vantage point in the adjacent Brisbane World Expo ’88 Rainforest Grove. Photos courtesy of Peter Rasey.

ABOVE: On Saturday morning, 15 September 2018, this was the vista alongside the northern side footpath on Mount Coot-tha Road. The bikeway ramp is progressing towards its entry point into Brisbane’s largest and heritage-listed Toowong Cemetery. Photo courtesy of Peter Rasey.

ABOVE: A new dawn’s light glints off the Toowong Overpass (in the middle distance) and (above) the Overpass, as viewed from the southern slope of Toowong Cemetery on 15 September 2018. Pictures courtesy of Peter Rasey.