Wandoan residents Bob Williams and Pat Devlin with Councillor Carolyn Tillman.
Wandoan residents Bob Williams and Pat Devlin with Councillor Carolyn Tillman.

New project to honour Wandoan soldier settlers and boost jobs

IT WAS a love of his community and the desire to honour Wandoan's soldiers that inspired resident and son of a soldier settler Pat Devlin to pitch a special idea to the Western Downs Regional Council.

Mr Devlin called on the council to establish a dedicated war memorial for the town's soldier settlers, and council have delivered.

An "Avenue of Honour" is being established as a part of council's COVID-19 Recovery Package to secure jobs in the region, and will honour local settlers and their contributions to Wandoan.

Mr Devlin said it was humbling to see his family and other soldier settlers publicly recognised.

"My family and I moved to Wandoan when I was young and it was a whole change of life for us, and we became part of the community," Mr Devlin said.

"The economic boost for this town at the time was absolutely amazing and the place thrived.

"We're really grateful because it means the project will get up and going within the next 12 months and that's terrific."

Recreational Spaces and Cemeteries spokeswoman Councillor Carolyn Tillman said the project was about recognising Wandoan's significance as part of the Commonwealth Government's Soldier Settlers Scheme and paying respect to the many soldiers who moved to the area.

"This is a hugely significant project for Wandoan and vital in preserving our region's rich history," Cr Tillman said.

"Some may not realise, but Wandoan was an identified settlement area for returned soldiers between 1952 and 1954.

"Land blocks were drawn from a ballot across the two years, and honourably discharged soldiers were chosen to move to the area with their families and establish working farms.

"This proved to be hugely beneficial in developing the town and agricultural industries we all know today, and it is fantastic Council is able to bring the ideas of residents Pat Devlin and Bob Williams to life and deliver an Avenue of Honour for the community."

The 'Avenue of Honour' will line the pathway within O'Sullivan Park and will feature over 100 individual plaques commemorating each soldier settler family.

The installation will also include fabulous steel entrances at either end of the park to boost its prominence as well as some new gardens and information boards telling the story of the Soldier Settler Scheme and its history in the town.

Council is currently in the process of collecting information on the local Soldier Settlers to include as part of the project and residents are being encouraged to get in touch if they have any information which could assist.

To find out more about the project or to provide any details, contact Council on 1300 268 624.

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