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Media Release
Commonwealth Minister for Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

9 December 2003

New Memorials to Mark Great Lives and Moments


Many of Australia's top public performers, including Sir Isaac Isaacs, Sir John Gorton, Sir Donald Bradman and Slim Dusty, are to have their lives commemorated through memorials funded by the Howard Government.

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced eight memorials in Victoria and New South Wales would be funded through the Commemoration of Historic Events and Famous Persons Program (CHEFPP).

"This program provides grants to commemorate nationally significant people and events and to maintain the graves of former Australian Prime Ministers and Governors-General," Dr Kemp said.

"First established in 1978, the program has expanded in scope to include commemorative monuments, exhibitions, surveys of historical sites and other curatorial works of national significance. Grants are generally allocated on an annual basis.

"Australia has produced many gifted and determined individuals who have put their energies towards the nation's good.

Those being commemorated are:

Sir Isaac Isaacs - the first Australian born Governor-General (1931-1937), a former teacher, strong advocate for Federation, member of the first Commonwealth Parliament, Attorney-General and Chief Justice of the High Court. Sir Isaac's life will be commemorated through the creation of a display of materials relating to his life which will be installed in the foyer of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation building in South Yarra. Grant of $3181.82 to the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation Inc.

Sir John Gorton - Liberal Prime Minister from 1968 to 1971, RAAF pilot during World War II and Minister of numerous portfolios including the Navy, Defence, the Interior, Works, and Education and Science. Sir John's contribution will be remembered through the creation of a memorial wall in the Prime Ministers' Memorial Garden in the Melbourne General Cemetery where memorials already exist for Sir Robert Menzies and Harold Holt. Grant of $11 044.55 to the Trustees of the Necropolis Springvale.

Four cricket greats whose early talents were developed playing for the St George Cricket Club at the historic Hurstville Oval - Sir Donald Bradman AC, Bill 'Tiger' O'Reilly MBE, Arthur Morris MBE and Ray Lindwall MBE. All four were chosen in Australian Cricket's 'Team of the Century' as players of outstanding ability. Their contribution will be commemorated by a bronze relief to be situated on the grounds of the Hurstville oval. Grant of $5000 to the Hurstville City Council.

Lord Hopetoun - Australia's first Governor-General (1901-1902) and Victorian Governor (1889-1895). The abrupt end to his term in office established the Australian dislike for pomp and ostentation and an expectation that Governors-General should work with many layers of the community. Lord Hopetoun's place in history will be remembered through an exhibition interpreting his life to be mounted in the Gold Treasury Museum in Melbourne's Old Treasury Building in Spring Street. Grant of $3000 to the Old Treasury Building Reserve Committee of Management Inc.

Slim Dusty MBE - Australian country music singer (1927-2003). He was the nation's most prolific recording artist with more than five million of his records sold in Australia, including his most well-known song - 'A Pub with no Beer'. He died earlier this year after spending sixty years in the recording industry and becoming one of Australia's most awarded performers. Slim Dusty's musical contribution to the nation will be marked with a sign at his boyhood home at Nulla Nulla, 45 minutes west of Kempsey in the mid north coast of NSW. This home is where his passion for country music emerged. Grant of $1500 to the Slim Dusty Museum Trust Fund.

Monster Meeting at Forest Creek in the Victorian goldfields (15 December 1851) was the first large democratically held public protest meeting in Australia. Between 12 000 and 20 000 diggers from nearby goldfields gathered to protest about the doubling of the cost of a licence to dig for gold. This historic event will be marked by the creation and installation of a flagpole at the site, reproduction of the Monster Meeting flag (which pre-dates the Eureka flag), and the development and production of an explanatory booklet about the meeting. Grant of $3220 to the Chewton Domain Society.

William Buckley - considered the 'father of reconciliation'. William Buckley was a convict who escaped custody in 1803 and spent the next 32 years living with the Wathaurong tribe near Geelong, Victoria. After returning to European settlement and being pardoned, he became a constable and interpreter. He was the first person in Victoria to attempt to achieve reconciliation and cultural understanding between old and new Australians. William Buckley's contribution will be remembered through the construction of a labyrinth or place of contemplation on the St Leonards foreshore of Port Phillip Bay and the installation of a plaque and interpretive sign. Grant of $5000 to the St Leonards Progress Association Inc.

Australia's first recorded reconciliation - on 3 May 1805 at Prospect Hill in Sydney, local Indigenous people met with free settler, John Kennedy, and the Rev Samuel Marsden. This moment will be remembered through the installation of a commemorative stone featuring the etched artwork of an Australian Indigenous artist. Grant of $5000 to the Holroyd City Council.

Dr Kemp said the memorials will give local communities, visitors and the general public an opportunity to learn more about the unique people and historic events that have shaped the nation.

"We can learn much about the way Australian society has developed over the last two centuries through story-telling and the commemoration of special people and places," he said.

"Earlier this year, I announced the $52.6 million Distinctively Australian program, along with the establishment of a new National Heritage List, which celebrates Australia's most outstanding natural, Indigenous and built heritage places.

"We want to remember the legacies left behind. The CHEFPP memorials will remind Australians that it is not by chance that we have our distinctive national identity - it is by endeavour, talent and commitment."

Commonwealth of Australia