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Anzac Memorial Park and adjacent Banyan trees

Source: Go to the Queensland Heritage Register for more information.
Identifier: 600934
Location: The Strand, TOWNSVILLE
State: QLD
Statement of
Anzac Memorial Park and adjacent Banyan trees are important for their association with The Strand and Cleveland Bay foreshore as one of the earliest recreation venues in Townsville. The establishment of the park was closely connected with civic leader and publican John Henry Tyack and the re-development of the Queens Hotel opposite, and for the first half of the 20th century, remained one of Townsville's principal tourist attractions. Since the early 20th century, the park has provided a community focus for commemorative activities, and contains a number of memorials to events or persons of significance in Townsville's history, including the WJ Castling Memorial (1908), the Bandstand (1913), the First World War Memorial (1923-24), the Queensland Centenary Fountain (1959) and the Battle of the Coral Sea Memorial (1992). The WJ Castling Memorial and the Bandstand are finely detailed, classically-derived structures that reflect the Mannerism of the Victorian and Edwardian Periods and the tradition of constructing public buildings in a classical style. The bandstand in particular is an aesthetically pleasing and skillfully executed composition based on the language of classical architecture. Furthermore, the principal original elements of the composition are intact. The WJ Castling Memorial is significant for its craftsmanship and intactness. The First World War Memorial is a dominant structure in Anzac Park, and in its aesthetic quality and craftsmanship, makes a significant contirubtion to the townscape quality of the park. The First World War Memorial is a member of a class of commemorative structures erected as a record of the local impact of a major historical event and intended to endure, and along with the re-naming of the park as Anzac Memorial Park, survives as evidence of a widespread social movement expressing Australian patriotism and nationalism in the interwar period. The Queensland Centenary Fountain is significant as Townsville City Council's major contribution to the celebration of the centenary of Queensland's separation from New South Wales in 1859. The adjacent mature Banyan trees are significant as some of the earliest surviving street plantings in Townsville.
Description: Anzac Park, Townsville, extends along the foreshore overlooking Cleveland Bay, with views to Magnetic Island. It is bordered to the west by Tobruk Memorial Baths, to the south by The Strand, to the east by the Townsville Bowls Club, and to the north by reclaimed land forming part of a recent marina development. The park is surrounded by a low concrete edging with obelisk-like pillars at regular intervals. Steel chains stretch between the pillars along the sea front (to the north) only. There are mature Banyan trees along The Strand boundary, just outside the park reserve, and early garden beds along the street and throughout the park. More recently-planted palm trees are scattered throughout the park. Anzac Memorial Park forms a garden setting for a number of adjacent buildings of cultural heritage significance, including the former Queen's Hotel [600936] and former Customs House [600937] along The Strand, further up on Wickham Street, the State Government Offices [601384], and at the corner of Cleveland Terrace and Melton Terrace, the former Supreme Court Building [600885]. Anzac Memorial Park contains a number of memorial structures. The memorial Bandstand is centrally placed at the eastern end of the park. [West of this are newly established gardens and a recent children's playground.] In the centre of the park, opposite the main entrance gates to The Strand and Wickham Street, is the 1959 Queensland Centenary Fountain. To the north of the Fountain is a 1992 memorial to the Battle of the Coral Sea. The entrance gates, Fountain and Coral Sea Memorial form a north-south axis which bisects the park. West of the fountain is the First World War Memorial, also centrally located. At the western end of the park is the WJ Castling Memorial, again, centrally positioned. The WJ Castling Memorial, First World War Memorial, Queensland Centenary Fountain, and the Bandstand, form an axis east-west, and each is set in a paved surround within the grassed area of the park's centre. W J Castling Memorial, 1908 The W J Castling memorial drinking fountain is an exercise in the use of classical elements, based on a simple square form plan with an attic storey raised on Ionic columns. The structure derives from the Roman triumphal arch, with its four columns standing on pedestals and rising to an entablature, above which is the attic storey with a semicircular decorative motif. The arches have been displaced by the capitals, and occur within the structure as a shallow dome above the central urn on its octagonal base. The curves of a basilica roof are reduced to a convex pyramidal form, topped with a decorative carved finial. Carved of yellow sandstone, the columns, roof and urn are supported on a plinth and attached column bases of white marble. A basin has been formed in marble on each side of the drinking fountain Bandstand, 1913 The bandstand is also an exercise in the language of classical architecture, using a simple square form plan with a pyramidal roof raised on composite order columns. The Mannerist composition of the screen derives from the Renaissance illustrations of the classical orders, in which the elements of the entablature surmounting the capital are interpreted as panels of open space between flat pilasters. The frieze band of the entablature is infilled with decorative cast iron panels, framed between chamfered square section timber posts and visually supported on corner brackets to the underside of the taenia, or plate that seperates the frieze from the architrave below. Panels of decorative cast iron are fixed between columns to form a continuous balustrade, broken only at the top of the steps where it meets round iron posts with ball finials. Paired columns at each corner are infilled with frieze panels above and balustrading below, with curved corner brackets at each junction to form an egg-shaped opening in the screen. Columns are set on a base of rendered brickwork, set one metre above the surrounding garden beds with rendered steps and curved strings. Within the bandstand is a recent hardwood boarded floor, and a flat VJ lined ceiling extending beyond the screen of the walls to form boxed eaves stopped at a deep timber fascia. The roof is sheeted in corrugated galvanised iron, and has a turned timber finial. The structure is finished in a green plastic paint except for the floorboards which are unpainted and the ceiling and finial which are painted off-white. There is no guttering nor rainwater goods, and the original interior light fitting is missing. First World War Memorial, 1923-24 This memorial is a column of rough cut, rusticated grey granite supported on a red-white marble plinth and bracketed by three white marble fins each supported by triple columns on attached bases. The column is finished with a projecting abacus of granite, and is supported on a concrete stylobate of two steps, surfaced in red granite chips. White marble tablets are fixed to the column between the fins, and high on the column's four faces are inset circular bronze plaques, each sheltered by a narrow bracketed shelf of white marble. The four plaques depict an eagle, crossed swords, anchor, and the seal of the City of Townsville, and replace four clock faces. Queensland Centenary Fountain, 1959 This is a circular fountain approximately 1 metre high with central sprays. It sits in a shallow pool fed by perimeter sprays set in a low masonry ring. Battle of the Coral Sea Memorial, 1992 Earth is banked in a glacis against two low, outward-sloping walls that form two facing quadrants around a circular paved area. The walls rise in an arc to a height of about one metre in their centre, and are finished in red granite. The lettering and illustrations that tell the story of the Battle of the Coral Sea are picked out in contrasting rough and smooth finishes on the surfaces of the walls. Within the paved area are two truncated columns, bearing bronze information plaques.

Report produced : 20/4/2004
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