What does the ANZAC Centenary mean for Redland City?

Cenotaph in Cleveland's ANZAC Memorial Park

Cenotaph in Cleveland’s ANZAC Memorial Park

In just over six months it will be ANZAC Day 2015. Communities around Australia have been busy preparing for  events to commemorate 100 years since the Gallipoli landings.

What should Redland City be doing to mark the ANZAC Centenary?

Does Cleveland need a new ANZAC memorial?

RSL's original plan for new memorial in Linear Park

RSL’s original plan for 60 metre memorial wall

Two designs have been released for a proposed new ANZAC memorial in Cleveland. In February the RSL proposed building a 60 metre long brick wall at the northern end of Linear Park.

Local residents objected to an assault on their open space. Petitions signed by 700 people (from all over Redland City) called for no memorial or other structures to be built in Linear Park.

Overhead view of the area ) click to enlarge)

Overhead view of the area (click to enlarge)

Then the Redland City Council stepped in and (with no community consultation) produced a ‘revised’ design, lower in height.

This time it is down the slope at the eastern end, across the road from the RSL Club (see area outlined in blue in the overview map).

Linear Park is an inappropriate location for an ANZAC Centenary memorial – or any structure.

Linear Park, Cleveland

Linear Park, Cleveland

  • It is not ‘vacant land’ which is how the RSL Sub-Branch President described it, oblivious to the fact that many people value the amenity of landscape views and open space.
  • It is state land reserved as public parkland and used by hundreds of people including many who live in the increasing number of infill apartments being developed in Cleveland.
  • The City Council is the trustee for Linear Park and is responsible for proper management of this area on behalf of the State Government.
Second attempt

Second attempt

But there is a deeper, glaring objection to locating a monument in Linear Park. It would mean realigning the focus of ANZAC commemoration away from the existing memorial that was erected by servicemen who returned to the Redlands after World War I.

How could that be considered an appropriate way to mark 100 years of our history?

Why is the ANZAC monument paramount?

Broken column symbolizing lives cut short

Broken column symbolising lives cut short

The 1919 sandstone monument – its broken column symbolising lives cut short – is the authentic, enduring heart of ANZAC memories in Cleveland. In this cenotaph are vested the emotions, the hearts and sorrow of those who actually mourned husbands, sons, uncles, brothers, sweethearts, mates.

The monument was built and paid for by the very residents of Cleveland who lived through World War I: the Great War, the war to end all wars. The memorial was built immediately after the war, at the time when memories and emotions were raw and Australia adopted and ritualised its solemn ANZAC tradition.

The ANZAC landings were foundational in defining the nation. There have been other wars since the Great War, but none will displace the pivotal national significance of World War I and the campaigns fought by Australians and New Zealanders, so far from home, at places that resonate even now with us: Gallipoli, Fromelles, Ypres …

The significance of this sandstone cenotaph erected in 1919 cannot be overestimated. Nor can this monument be eclipsed or sidelined by a secondary, alternative monument constructed in a nearby park.

This cenotaph must remain the central focus of Cleveland’s ANZAC commemorations.

Redesign the 1919 ANZAC precinct

ANZAC Memorial Park

ANZAC Memorial Park (click to enlarge)

Unfortunately, the memorial is now marooned by a busy road (closed for ANZAC Day services) and an encroaching high-rise building. It is not well-served by the current rather mean landscaping treatment of hedging and concrete. Gaudy advertisements, traffic signs and rubbish bins further detract from the memorial’s dignity.

The setting – which takes in not only the actual site of the monument but also the adjacent roads and green space opposite – needs a high-quality master plan and design. Remodelling the 1919 cenotaph surrounds and precinct would be the basis of a worthwhile  submission for a federal grant to commemorate the Gallipoli centenary.

Why the Council’s scheme doesn’t work

Site proposed by Council

Site proposed by Council

The Council’s design for an alternative ANZAC memorial in Linear Park does not resolve overwhelming functional and technical problems faced at the 1919 cenotaph site, of having to accommodate many thousands of people for brief periods on two days of the year.

The constraints of the current venue apply equally to Linear Park: thousands of people not able to see and hear proceedings, congestion when entering and leaving the site, traffic and parking problems.

The proposed Linear Park schemes show no evidence of basic research informing the design: crowd movement, lighting (dawn ceremony), audio and video augmentation.

Information about the cost of the proposed new memorials has not been made available. A federal grant of $100,000 for Redlands is mooted. This does not seem nearly enough to build the Council’s proposed design, so where would the rest of the money come from?

Where is the community input?

Residents getting told about plans

Council staff telling residents about plans developed without community input

The federal grant scheme comes with a proviso that the input of the local community is a key priority. Thirteen Federal electorates in Queensland have already had  grants approved for a wide range of activities. In Petrie, for instance, a grant of $4,735 has been given to the Mousetrap Theatre Company to develop, publicise and deliver the performance, ‘It’s a Long Way to Tipperary’.

In the Redlands there has been no involvement of the community in public discussion about appropriate ideas for commemoration of the ANZAC Centenary. Just the sudden, unexplained appearance of proposals for a new ANZAC memorial.

The Redland City Council consistently avoids genuine community consultation. Whatever the issue, input seems drawn from a narrow section of the community only. This is inexcusable.

So who is pushing so hard to spend taxpayers’ money on a new edifice, and why?

Is this idea of building a new memorial a case of local politicians wanting to be remembered, rather than the community remembering the people who sacrificed their lives 100 years ago?

Post by Jackie Cooper

Redland City Council is seeking feedback about a proposed new ANZAC Centenary Memorial in Linear Park up until 27 October 2014.

For more information on this website go to Save Linear Park.

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

6 thoughts on “What does the ANZAC Centenary mean for Redland City?

  1. Community Update ….. finally due process is being carried out, the state government upon reviewing Councils summary of the community engagement results have exercised their rights to request a Land Management Plan (LMP) on Linear (Kinsail Court) Park

    The LMP and community engagement results will form the basis of a new report regarding the proposed Memorial scheduled to be considered at council 10 December General Meeting

    Cleveland Open Space Action Group (COSAG)


    I write in answer to a recent article displayed on Redlands 2030 website 10-10-2014.
    Yes, Cleveland does need a new memorial. Why? Due to ever increasing crowds at Anzac Day services [ in 2014 an approximate crowd of 11 to 12,000 people attended the Dawn Service] it has become harder for the Anzac Day organizing committee to make an adequate plan to cater for the large crowd.
    The number of spectators is expected to grow even larger over the next four years, especially as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War 1.
    It is considered that the current Cenotaph, having been moved once already, and aging, would not stand another move. But who would want to move it? It and the surrounding Anzac Memorial Park hold a special place in the hearts and minds of all Redlanders, with its beautiful trees and its serenity.
    The Cenotaph was indeed built by ex-service men from World War 1 and has, with only minor additions, remained as a memorial to all who have served and gave the ultimate sacrifice for the land they loved, Australia. This will never change.
    Over the years, from the time the Cenotaph was built to now, Cleveland has grown from a small village to a large – and ever increasingly larger – suburb of Redland City.
    Is it not feasible that a memorial should grow with it? The fact is, that far from disrespecting the soldiers of World War 1, a new memorial indicates the depth of gratitude and respect reflected by the residents, in that 100 years after the event, their service and sacrifices are still so highly valued that the community would further wish to perpetuate their memory.
    It is not only World War1 that will be depicted on the walls, although it would be the main theme. All of the major battles Australia has been involved in, from the Boer War to Afghanistan, would be etched into them.
    There are not many places that you would see this effect and recognition.
    Approval has been gained from the relevant State Government department.
    Some 680 objections on a petition on a previous design leaves tens of thousands of Redlands residents who did not oppose the original proposal.
    Some information stated when collecting signatures for the original petition were misleading and factually incorrect. That petition should not be used for the current design.
    There has never been any suggestion that the Memorial site would include any modification to Cortes Canal Park.
    The writers of the article in Redlands 2030 appear to be misleading the public by saying the Proposed Memorial Site is to be placed in Linear Park.
    This is absolutely wrong.
    The Proposed Memorial site would be in the south-eastern corner of Kinsail Court Park and its low profile is designed to provide little distraction, sight wise, to local residents. It would take up only a small area of the park, leaving the open space available to the community as it currently is – a public park, not some one’s private park.
    This misleading information that has been placed on the Redlands 2030 is not relevant to the points raised, and we see no point in answering any further points that has been raised by Redlands 2030 – apart from saying that, when erected, the new site will form a Memorial Precinct that will include the current Anzac Memorial Park, which will still be used for smaller services like Remembrance Day, Vietnam Veterans’ Day and other commemorational services that attract lesser attendances.
    It is those who attend the Anzac Day ceremonies that we are thinking of and a way to enable them to observe the Anzac Day services on that one day a year that is so sacrosanct to most Australians.

    Alan Harcourt
    President, Redlands RSL Sub-Branch

  3. I also think the Anzac Centenary Project is a good idea, It certainly would not detract from the existing Memorial and certainly to most people would only enhance our respect for the fallen soldiers in all facets of war past and present. The open space on Kinsail Court Park would not be compromised by the Redland City Proposal, in fact it could attract more people to reflect on the Sacrifices made for us Australians.

    • The RSL should have a centenary project, but build it on their own land. They have enough of it.
      Leave the peoples park land alone.
      There is little enough park left after development.
      In other words leave Linear park alone and go reflect somewhere else.
      This is our peoples park land and is what our Diggers past and present fought and are fighting for.
      Again I repeat it is peoples park land so show respect for our future generations and leave Linear available for them to enjoy.
      I would suggest Alan Hardcourt get his erronous and misleading facts straight and stop misleading the general public. I would suggest the Mayor do likewise!

    • Cleveland Open Space Action Group (COSAG) fully support the creation of an Anzac Memorial but have objected to the proposed location and Redland City Council’s unacceptable approach to:

       * Community consultation methodology
       * Its role as Trustee of the reserve
       * Its refusal to respond to valid questions from the public
       * Its refusal to consider alternative suggestions
       * Its commitment to funding without first having been passed by full Council
       * Its unsupported commitment to “discuss and engage” with local residents.
       * Its blatant disrespect for members of the community.
       * Its level of dishonesty in public communications

      Council has at no time responded to questions from this group in relation to Council’s legal responsibilities as trustees of Linear Park. It has consistently “deferred” comment, and has never met as Trustees..

      Alternative locations for this memorial have been dismissed without explanation. In Council’s press release of 16 September, the mayor stated that “Council and the RSL have also been mindful of the potential traffic issues surrounding these events and this will be a key part of the ongoing discussion and engagement with nearby residents on the new memorial proposals”. No such discussion has occurred. This proposal will reduce significantly parking space for the Anzac Day Service

      Council has adopted a set of leading questions that are deliberately designed NOT to draw out the real public opinion. The location is “vague” to say the least, and the “design” is simply an artist’s impression, not supported by dimensions and void of any architectural beauty. The design will be a huge bonus to recreational BMX riders and skateboarders, as it will present a perfect “jump” facility, as there is an 800 cm tier from the top edge of the memorial to the concrete apron, and a further 800cm drop to the bottom apron.

      Further the mayor claims “The memorial will enhance the existing RSL cenotaph” how when the existing cenotaph is out of view of the proposed memorial? In fact, the artists impression depicts a soldier with his back to the existing cenotaph. There exists an ideal opportunity to enhance the existing Cenotaph with the development of the new units adjoining the location. Currently, despite significant graffiti occurring in the vicinity, the Cenotaph has escaped. This could be because it is in full view of the adjoining RSL.

      In the Mayors own words, the “final” design will be undertaken following four weeks of “public consultation”; So what is the “final design”?

      In relation to funding, Redland Council’s minutes of meeting of 12 February stated that Council would be unable to provide funding to support this project. The March bulletin, the Bugle, published by the RSL stated that the Mayor had made a commitment of $50,000 to the project. This directly conflicted with her own Council’s minutes.

      Todate both State and Federal Anzac Grants have not been approved nor has any approval been given to use Linear Park

      As highlighted there are numerous reasons why Council should not proceed with a poorly designed and poorly thought out proposal. Again we affirm that any members of COSAG are not against the creation of an ANZAC memorial. Simply locate it in an appropriate place. The RSL has significant space on land already occupied by it. The Cenotaph is on public use land, and there is no objection to additional memorial that will support this Cenotaph. There is more than sufficient space now that the inappropriate previous design has been correctly scrapped.

      So rather than diminish the significant historical and commemorative value of the existing Cenotaph by creating a substandard memorial, why not enhance and promote the Cenotaph. It has connection. Do not sever this connection.

  4. I am in favour and I believe that this is a very necessary project. It will be in memory of ALL service Members and a benifit to Redlands and also to all children as a reminder of thos ,past and present who have and are serving our country AUSTRALIA

Comments are closed.