- Created on 05 March 2013
ON June 30, 1938, a group of Wallaroo residents planted the first of many trees which were to become Swansea Park. They did so with the support of the Wallaroo Council and the Wallaroo RSA. They were motivated by a desire to convert a dusty patch of land they called Billy Goat Flat into a park. They hoped to improve the area in which they lived and also honour local men and women who had died in WWI.
The first 47 pine trees were planted in honour of those soldiers. The local people watered and tended the trees adding more pines and eucalypts. They established a memorial park which was to become one of the assets listed among Wallaroo’s attractions.
In 2011, we counted 100 trees of significance and noted local people still cleared away debris, enjoyed walking home from the shops on shady paths and woke to the sound of abundant bird life.
In February 2012, at our council’s directive, contractors felled all of the trees, removed seats and graded the paths. This returned Swansea Park to its former Billy Goat Flat status. Once again this summer, local people had its red dust blowing into their houses.
Twenty-six for sale signs are the only decoration and remain ignored 12 months later. The project designed to refill council coffers has predictably failed.
It is not a coincidence at that time there were 100 blocks of land for sale in the Wallaroo area (realestate.com.au) and more land releases to come.
I would like to acknowledge the wisdom and courage of the three councillors (Brent Walker, David Woodforde and Beverley Schultz) who opposed this destructive decision.
Council is doing many splendid things for Wallaroo. The purpose of my letter is to urge them to show leadership by acknowledging their mistake in this matter and to find a way forward. I suggest the town planning skills, which have produced the exciting town centre blueprint, be employed to design a development for Billy Goat Flat. This could include land for sale, parks and paths and a formal and permanent tribute to the soldiers of WWI. Surely a win/win solution. The land is much more likely to sell, promises about the park and district will be kept, old Wallaroo will be enhanced and council will not be remembered as the group whose legacy is Billy Goat Flat.
We can all do so much better if we consult and work together. Swansea Park can be a profitable development and a much better place to live.
Andrew Ramsay and friends, Swansea Park Wallaroo