Canon Garland Overpass at last!

Published by Peter Collins on

ABOVE: The view motorists heading in-bound on the Western Freeway see as they approach Canon Garland Overpass, at Toowong. Photo courtesy of Peter Collins CGMM.

ABOVE: Renaming Ceremony MC, Jess Pugh MP for Mount Ommaney, watches on as David Ratcliff CGMM reveals the plaque to mark the creation of “Canon Garland Overpass”. The plaque was later permanently affixed to the Overpass’s eastern approaches. Photo courtesy of Metro Media of the Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland).

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 (DTMR) rebadged the Toowong Cycle and Pedestrian Overpass to “Canon Garland Overpass” a year after an e-Petition was presented to the Queensland State Parliament in 2018.

It then took until 3 June 2022, however, for standard DTMR signage to finally be affixed to its eastern and western aspects.

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, assumed a new identity in the the cradle of Australia’s most beloved institution: “ANZAC Day”.

Awareness of Canon Garland hopefully will grow exponentially as the years go by and tens of thousands of motorists pass beneath the landmark structure every 24 hours.

ABOVE: The former Toowong Bicycle and Pedestrian Overpass that 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 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 2019 morning, invitation-only, official naming ceremony, convened at the southern end (Anzac Park side) 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 (from left, standing): Liz Binks, David Ratcliff CGMM, Padre the Venerable Rob Sutherland CSC (Archdeacon to the Australian Army), Ross Hielscher CGMM, Darby Ashton CGMM (President of the Naval Association of Australia Sandgate Sub-Section and representing the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland Incorporated), Robert Glazebrook CGMM and Darcy Maddock CGMM (President of the Friends of Toowong Cemetery); and (front, from left) the Reverend Canon Gary Harch CGMM (Priest-in-Charge of Saint Mary’s Anglican Church, Kangaroo Point) and Peter Collins CGMM (Convenor of Canon Garland Memorial.). Photo courtesy of Metro Media of the Department of Transport and Main Roads (Queensland).

ABOVE: DTMR (Roadtek) engineers affixed the Overpass’s signage on 3 June 2022. Photo courtesy of DTMR.

ABOVE: When Peter Rasey’s 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.


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 $9.9 million1 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. 1.Footnote: According to the Queensland Transport Final Report July 2008-March 2009, Volume 1 of 2 (Overview, pg21)  “…[ Queensland Transport ] committed $45.9 million towards state government projects. This includes…$9.9 million for the Toowong cycle and pedestrian overpass…”

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

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.

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.


CANON GARLAND MEMORIAL. continues to agitate 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 (at the time of penning this blog entry), 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, Canon Garland Memorial. trusts, 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.

STOP PRESS: In late October 2021, further to a representation made on behalf of Canon Garland Memorial. by the office of the State Member for Mount Ommaney, Ms Jess Pugh MP, DTMR confirmed that its typical signage “was programmed” for installation on Canon Garland Overpass in due course.
⇒ Watch this space ( or our Facebook page ) for updates when this unfinished business is attended to!

§ And 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.