Canon Garland Overpass won!

Published by Peter Collins on

ABOVE: After revealing the plaque to officially mark the naming of Canon Garland Overpass, on the 80th anniversary of the death of his Greatuncle, David Ratcliff of Hexham in the United Kingdom, shares a moment with the event’s Master of Ceremonies, the Queensland State Member for Mount Ommaney, Ms Jessica Pugh MP. Photo courtesy of Peter Collins CGMM.

A COMMUNITY-BASED campaign to honour the memory of the Queenslander who gave Anzac Day to the world has culminated in the renaming of a bridge at Toowong.

The Queensland Transport and Main Roads Department has consented to official rebadge the Toowong Cycle and Pedestrian Overpass to “Canon Garland Overpass” a year after an E-Petition was presented to the Queensland State Parliament.

From Wednesday morning, 9 October 2019, this major Queensland Government-constructed and controlled flyover across the Western Freeway, between Toowong’s Anzac Park and the Mount Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, will more closely reflect the surrounding area’s unique significance as the cradle of the movement which became Australia’s most beloved institution: “Anzac Day”.

ABOVE: The former Toowong Bicycle and Pedestrian Overpass is now officially “Canon Garland Overpass”. This glimpse of the imposing structure (middle distance, at left) was captured from high up in the adjacent Toowong Cemetery. In the foreground is the cemetery access ramp installed by Brisbane City Council staff and contractors only in 2018. Canon Garland Overpass is thought to be the first bridge-like structure in the nation to be named after a former First AIF volunteer chaplain. Photo courtesy of Peter Collins CGMM.

The State Member for Ommaney, Ms Jess Pugh MP, was the Master of Ceremonies for the 9 October morning invitation-only official naming ceremony, convened at the eastern end (Anzac Park, Toowong) of the structure.

Special guests were Canon Garland’s Grandnephew, David Ratcliff, and Great Grandniece –David’s daughter – Mrs Elizabeth (“Liz”) Binks, both of Hexham, United Kingdom.

Audience members included: the State Member for Maiwar, Dr Michael Berkman MP; the Opposition Transport and Main Roads Minister, the Hon. Steve Minnikin MP; the Brisbane City Council’s Walter Taylor Ward Councillor, James Mackay; the Archdeacon to the Australian Army, Padre the Venerable Rob Sutherland CSC; the Priest-in-Charge of the Kangaroo Point Anglican Parish, the Reverend Canon Gary Harch CGMM and Marie-Claire Harch; Priest-in-Charge of Ithaca-Red Hill Parish, the Reverend Bill Colbrahams; the President of the Friends of Toowong Cemetery Incorporated, Darcy Maddock CGMM; President of the Asia Minor Greek Historical Society Incorporated, Marina Campbell; President of the Naval Association of Australia (Sandgate Sub-Section) and an executive member of the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee Incorporated, Darby Ashton CGMM; Immediate Past Vice-President of Canon Garland Memorial Society Incorporated, Ross Hielscher CGMM; Army Museum South Queensland director and an executive member of the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland Incorporated, CAP Adele Catts; Museum of Brisbane Executive Director, Dr Renai Grace; Past Executive Committee member of Canon Garland Memorial Society Incorporated, Robert Glazebrook CGMM; Transport and Main Roads departmental staffers, Nicole Hole and Andrew Haddock; as well as neighbours of the Overpass.

ABOVE: Archdeacon to the Australian Army, Padre the Venerable Rob Sutherland CSC, was invited to invoke a prayer of thanksgiving for the life and works of First AIF volunteer Chaplain LTCOL, the Reverend Canon David Garland OBE VD. He is pictured here with Army Museum South Queensland, CAP Adele Catts, soon after David Ratcliff had unveiled the plaque destined to be affixed to Canon Garland Overpass. Photo courtesy of Peter Collins CGMM.

ABOVE: When the E-Petition closed on 16 October 2018, after six weeks, a total of 105 signatures had been recorded. The E-Petition was tabled in the Queensland State Parliament on 16 October 2018.

BACKGROUND

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.

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 extensive work by Brisbane City Council contractors and staff along Mount Coot-tha Road has finally finished the physical foot/bicycle traffic linkages this visually stunning part of the western suburbs warranted.

The route stretches beyond Moggill Road and straddles the Western Freeway, surges eastwards and northwards into historic Toowong Cemetery, and binds 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, created to celebrate 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.

ABOVE: The “Garland Avenue” sign in Portion 10 – the “Soldiers’ Corner” of historic Toowong Cemetery was installed in late 2018 by Brisbane City Council, with the encouragement of the Friends of Toowong Cemetery organisation. Photo courtesy of President of the Friends of Toowong Cemetery, Darcy Maddock CGMM.

ABOVE: Friends of Toowong Cemetery, Darcy Maddock CGMM, indicates where “Garland Avenue” may be found in Brisbane’s largest municipal cemetery. Photo courtesy of Peter Collins CGMM.

HOW IT HAPPENED

CANON GARLAND MEMORIAL. Group for the past year has agitated for the Queensland State Government to seize the moment and synthesise all these elements into one overarching theme – “Remembrance of The Fallen”.

Renaming the overpass permanently pays tribute to a Great Queenslander who, 103 years ago, championed the take up of “Anzac Day” as the nation’s “All Souls’ Day”.

Within Canon Garland’s lifetime, the 25th day of April was legislated as a “close public holiday” throughout Australia and New Zealand, with each country still following his original format for solemn civic observances.

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, in an initiative lead by the-then Lord Mayor, Councillor Graham Quirk.

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. Group urged Queenslanders to add their voice to their local State Member of Parliament to see Toowong Cycle and Pedestrian Overpass given a more memorable name that now befits the exceptional national, cultural and historical significance of the places it now links. All who made submissions to the Department can share in the pride of seeing this campaign through to the logical end.

Now a name of a man who was intrinsically associated with Queensland’s pivotal role in the creation of Anzac Day itself and the debt of honour due the estimated 58,000 men and women who enlisted from this State to serve in the First Australian Imperial Force during World War I is enshrined in the landscape he knew so well.

Canon Garland Overpass, the Canon Garland Memorial. Group hopes, will foster interest in the life and works of a man who, as a volunteer chaplain, dedicated some 39 years of his 50 years in Holy Orders to the spiritual and material wellbeing of Australian Defence Service personnel in time of war and peace.

And it is a great credit to the foresight of Transport and Main Roads Minister, the Hon. Mark Bailey MP – on behalf of the Parliament and the State Government – to give tangible expression to the debt of gratitude owed by every Australian and New Zealander to the Queenslander who helped give Anzac Day to the world.

§ Be sure to click on the “Media Coverage” link tab (above) to read/watch more about this good news story.

 

ABOVE and BELOW: 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.