Milestone for Memorial Park
Mutu Street resident Shirley Stirling has overlooked Memorial Park for many years and noted that its 50th anniversary came and went without celebration.
Her husband, the late Bill Stirling, took the photos to the right on opening day showing how important the event was to Te Awamutu and district. The images also show how the park has grown and developed.
The park was opened on Sunday, December 4, 1955 by then Prime Minister Sidney Holland.
The project began in 1947 when three schemes were proposed to the Te Awamutu Borough Council and a ‘memorial park’ chosen as the most fitting way to honour those who fought and died in World War II.
Over successive years three mayors, G. Spinley, F. Parsons and C.F. Jacobs chaired the Memorial Park committee.
In 1950 the idea was sold to the public, but slow progress raising money almost halted the project. A year later it was back on track and earthworks commenced.
In February, 1952 the Memorial Park committee held its monthly meeting on site, a tradition they kept going to keep up the interest in the project and to keep a close eye on progress.
When it opened was hailed as a tremendous asset for the district. A tribute was paid to H Babbage, who was the designer, planner and supervisor.
FOOTNOTE: At the opening ceremony Boer War veteran Albert Berry of Pokuru marched with his RSA colleagues from ‘Big Tree Corner’ to the park, then collapsed and died.