Monday, February 10, 2014

A special place



I love walking around my neighbourhood, however there is a park that I always try to avoid.  I avoid it for no other reason than I once received some bad news (on my mobile) as I was walking through it.  Since then the memory of that news comes back to me every time I walk through/past/near the park.

Last weekend I went for a walk and almost without thinking I found myself on the edge of the park. I hesitated at the edge and then decided I would walk through as it was 1. A very hot day and the park is nice and shady and 2. Silly of me to continue avoiding a park because of an unhappy memory.

To make a long story short I am so glad I did.  I spotted a sign I had never seen before, so I headed over to have a read.  It might seem pretty simple, however while reading it, I felt a range of emotions - it made me smile, laugh, sad and proud.

The sign notes that although today the park is a place for play, for many years it was a place for learning and it was the location of the first school in the area.

The school opened on 27 April 1875 (blow me away!).  It was made out of blue gum and stringy-bark timber and of the 27 children who were the first students in the school - several were from the families of Shumack, Smith and Southwell - all well known streets in the area.

A closer look at the photo on the sign - the first students along with their teacher Mr Ewan Cameron.  Their gorgeous school house behind.


The part that gave me goosebumps was where it mentioned the beautiful tall pine trees that are still scattered among the park today.  The first 11 it says were planted to commemorate 11 former students who enlisted in WW1.  As I read this, I looked back up at the trees and saw 11 tall and proud pines - which reminded me of tall, proud soldiers.

What a lovely and meaningful thing to put in a park.  I loved reading about the history of my area - realising the street names that I have taken for granted for many, many years have a greater significance to the area.

This park now has a new memory attached to it.  Thank you so much to who ever organised it to come about.  (ACT Government / Weetangera School / Canberra Tracks / Belconnen Heritage).  Good work!