Saturday, 2 March 2013

A memorial and A memory - in Lissner Park

The Boer War Memorial Kiosk in Lissner Park, Charters Towers, was built in 1910, to honour the local soldiers who served in the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902).

Boer War Memorial Kiosk, Charters Towers, 2012.  Image: T. Fielding.
In 1909 the Charters Towers Council conducted a competition for the best design for a memorial kiosk and the prize was awarded to Mr F. Jorgensen, who was the Director of the Technical College.  Funding came from the South African Patriotic Fund which had been established in Charters Towers to assist families and soldiers affected by the Boer War.  After the war £1,200 was left in the fund, so it was decided the funds should go towards building a memorial.  Jorgensen’s design for the floor of the kiosk was altered slightly, with the original design including floor tiles representing the Australian flag and the Union Jack.  That part of the design was removed as it was deemed inappropriate for people to walk on the flags.

Boer War Memorial Kiosk in 2000.  Image: T. Fielding.
Built of cast iron and steel, the kiosk is unique in Queensland as a Boer War memorial.  At one end of the kiosk is a servery with marble benches and above the benches are three marble honour boards that name the local soldiers who served in the Boer War.

An estimated 7,000 people attended the official opening of the park on 13th October 1910.  Celebrations went right through the day and well into the night.  The Mayor, S.H. Thorp conducted the ceremony, which was followed by a promenade concert.  The band rotunda, the fountain and the memorial kiosk were fully lit, ensuring ‘the scene was a brilliant one’.
Boer War Memorial Kiosk, Charters Towers.
Photo: James Cook University.
A memory:
In the 1990s my late Grandfather, Alby Wilder, told me about his memories of Lissner Park.  His description was so wonderfully evocative, I thought I’d share it here:

"I remember as a little fellow - Lissner Park.  It’s a beautiful park - it’s still there today.  It had a rotunda.  I always remember a little bridge that you walked over and ducks swimming around and on a Sunday they had a band playing.  They had red jackets, tunics with brass buttons and big hats on and the women would have their parasols and long dresses on and everybody would be mooching around on the grass... walking here and walking there and the band would be playing.  I can remember that.  That was a terrific time I thought.  We go back that way sometimes and pull into the park and reminisce.  Even though I was only small I can still remember all the good feelings.  It has stayed with me all this time."

Rotunda in Lissner Park, Charters Towers, 2000.  Image: T. Fielding
Northern Miner, 13/12/1909 and 14/10/1910.
Queensland Heritage Register