Canon Garland Overpass

Published by Peter Collins on

ABOVE: In the foreground of this photograph is Mount Coot-tha Road and in the middle distance is the “Toowong Overpass”. Photo courtesy of Peter Rasey.

JOIN the campaign to see the Queenslander who gave Anzac Day to the world prominently honoured in Brisbane’s western suburbs in 2019.

In the wake of an E-Petition to the Queensland State Parliament, the Transport and Main Roads Department is considering community-led submissions calling for an official rebadging of the Toowong Cycle and Pedestrian Overpass to “Canon Garland Overpass”.

This gesture would reflect positively on the surrounding area’s unique significance as the cradle of the movement which became Australia’s most beloved institution: “Anzac Day”.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 Darcy Maddock, President of the Friends of Toowong Cemetery.

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

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 synthesise all these elements into one overarching theme – “Remembrance of The Fallen”.

Renaming the overpass would permanently pay tribute to a Great Queenslander who, 102 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.

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 their local State Member of Parliament to see Toowong Cycle and Pedestrian Overpass 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.

E-mail the CGMS Secretary, Peter Collins, to find out who you submissions should be directed to in the first instance.

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.