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The Authority manages lands with a significant number of important state and public memorials, such as the iconic Kings Park and Botanic Garden State War Memorial.

The Board of Management periodically receives requests for the addition of new memorials and refers to the official Memorials Policy.

Policy Statement: Memorials Policy 2011

Background

The Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) is responsible for the care, control and management of Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Bold Park, and any other designated lands. The BGPA operates under the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority Act 1998.

The BGPA Board of Management (the Board) is responsible for determining all key strategic policies and decisions, and the Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the implementation of these policies and decisions and the operational management of the BGPA.

Purpose

The purpose of this Memorials Policy is to provide clear parameters for the Board’s decision-making regarding possible future memorials on BGPA designated lands and define the requirements and application process for future proponents. The BGPA defines a memorial as a statue, plaque, sign, object, festival, building, public amenity, garden bed, dedicated tree and/or a religious service for the purpose of commemoration.

This Policy will ensure all decisions on any future memorials on BGPA designated lands enhance the significant historical importance of Kings Park and Botanic Garden in particular, as a place of community remembrance and center of commemoration, without detracting from the bushland setting or the open space amenity and recreational values of the parkland. The Board will consider all requests and suggestions for possible future memorials in the context of this Policy.

Statement

Kings Park and Botanic Garden is an A Class Reserve, which hosts more than five million visitors annually. The BGPA recognizes the particular importance of Kings Park and Botanic Garden to the Western Australian community as a significant place of commemoration. ‘Kings Park is one of the State’s cultural icons with particularly high social, aesthetic and historic values. It is a symbol of sacrifice and one of those places, which truly gives Western Australian’s a sense of place.’ (ref: Kings Park Conservation Strategy, April 2001, p.22). The Kings Park Conservation Plan for the Developed Areas (February 2000) contains statements of significance in terms of the cultural heritage significance of the park. This Plan states that all ‘works, which may have an impact on the cultural heritage significance of Kings Park, must be carried out with regard to the principles of the Australia ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance (the Burra Charter)’. (ref: Kings Park Conservation Strategy, April 2001, p.24).

The first formal memorial installed in Kings Park was the South African War Memorial in 1902, which acknowledges those lost in the Boer War of 1899 –1902. Since the erection of this first memorial, memorials have continued to be added to the park to commemorate significant events. As of April 2008, Kings Park and Botanic Garden has more memorials, statues and honour avenues than any other park in Australia. It is home to 53 formal, built memorials, as well as 1175 memorial plaques on trees in the honour avenues. These trees are living memorials to those who have represented and died while serving in the Australian (or British) forces in wartime.

The Board does not want to detract from the existing memorials and the general aesthetics and open space of the Kings Park parkland areas by approving any new memorials, particularly in the Fraser Avenue and Botanic Garden precincts. The Board endorses the view that the ‘conservation of Kings Park will best be achieved by careful consideration of the uses allowed in the park, the conservation of significant elements and spaces, together with the careful consideration of new requirements and their potential impact on cultural heritage values.’ (ref: Kings Park Conservation Strategy, April 2001, p.22). Specifically, the Kings Park Conservation Plan states that the ‘erection of new memorials within Kings Park should be strictly limited to prevent the proliferation of structures within the park.’ (ref: Kings Park Conservation Plan, February 2000, p.387).

Part of the Board’s decision making regarding the Place of Reflection in Roe Gardens was to meet identified community needs and to prevent the proliferation of further memorials in Kings Park. This facility, at the southern end of the State Botanic Garden, opened in April 2011, was approved and developed as an inclusive and all encompassing place for quiet contemplation for those people who have experienced (or will experience in the future) loss and trauma and who wished to grieve, remember, reflect and heal in a natural, peaceful setting such as Kings Park. Whilst the Place of Reflection is not specifically designed or intended to be a formal memorial to any one individual or group, it is a special, contemplative space that can be used by individuals and groups for the purpose of celebration of life and reflection on loss and trauma.

An application to create and/or dedicate a memorial will only be approved in exceptional circumstances, and requires unanimous Board support for all aspects of the proposed memorial, including purpose, location, design, and wording.

Process

An application to create and/or dedicate a memorial on BGPA designated lands will be considered in two distinct and separate stages.

Stage 1

In the first instance, the Board will determine whether to give ‘in principle’ support for the proposed memorial, particularly in relation to its primary purpose, if such purpose can be reasonably met by an existing facility, the proposed location, and the broad concept design.

‘In Principle’ support

The Board may, at its absolute discretion, give ‘in principle’ support to an application if the intent of the proposal is not generally represented in an existing memorial or any other existing facility in Kings Park, and

  • It commemorates a person, group, community or an event of State or National importance, that has had a significant and lasting impact on the people, culture, history or environment of Western Australia or Australia, or
  • It is designed to symbolise and celebrate great sacrifice and/or service to Western Australia or to Australia.

In making its determination, the Board will also consider whether BGPA designated lands are the most appropriate location. There are many alternative locations for community memorials, including other public open space governed by State and Local Governments, and these should be considered and investigated before any application is made to BGPA. Reasons for choosing BGPA designated lands as the desired location of a memorial as opposed to the myriad of alternative locations need to be fully articulated. (Note: There is no provision in the current Bold Park Management Plan to accommodate memorials in Bold Park).

The selection of Kings Park on the basis that it is well known or because of the park’s profile, is not viewed by the Board as adequate justification in itself for choosing Kings Park for a new memorial. Any future memorial must not detract from, or reduce the historical significance of existing memorials. It must not detract from the bushland setting or the open space amenity of the parkland but rather enhance and maintain the integrity of the designated land and its historical, scientific and recreational values.

Stage 2

Should ‘in principle’ support be explicitly given by the Board, the applicant will then be invited and required, as part of the second stage of the approval process, to submit more detailed designs and supporting information (as required) for the Board to make its final determination.

Final determination

Following receipt of the detailed designs and supporting information, the Board will then consider whether:

  • Community Amenity Value is Enhanced: The BGPA may consider existing or new garden beds, shelters, seating, statues, visitor facilities or other concepts as a proposed dedicated memorial if the community amenity value is established.Any new memorial must be demonstrated to be of lasting value to the community at large for social, cultural, religious, spiritual, aesthetic, educational or historical reasons and to significantly add to the existing community amenity of the proposed location on a day to day basis, within the context of the current use of the area. The Board may decide to implement a period of review after a memorial has been dedicated, and may at any reasonable time in the future, determine that the memorial should be removed. This may be done at the Board’s discretion, and in consultation with the Heritage Council and/or other relevant stakeholders, and

  • Location and Design is Appropriate: The location of the proposed memorial should be consistent with the current management plan for the designated land, and with any other relevant document relating to proposed location (e.g.,Kings Park Conservation Plan, the prevailing Management Plan and relevant area Masterplans). The design and materials for the proposed memorial must be appropriate and in keeping with existing design guidelines to meet the requirements of a 50-100 year lifespan, and suit the general aesthetics of the designated lands. The BGPA may determine that it will arrange the design and construction itself, rather than this being done by the proponent, should the Board deem this the most appropriate course of action, and

  • Appropriate Consultation is Undertaken: Kings Park and Botanic Garden has a high level of community ownership, and appropriate consultation is required in consideration of any future memorial. It is likely that consultation would be required with other relevant groups and organisations, such as the Indigenous Reference Group, the Heritage Council, the RSL, BGPA Memorial Reference Group, BGPA landscape architects and / or cultural heritage consultants to ensure no conflicts of interest in the proposed memorial purpose, location, design and focus. The BGPA works closely with the RSL on all issues relating to the war memorials and honour avenues, including the trees and plaques, and any request to alter or add to these memorials is discussed in consultation with the RSL, and

  • Sufficient Capital and Recurrent Funding is Available: The applicant must demonstrate that sufficient funds are available to meet all costs associated with construction and installation in accordance with BGPA requirements, including project management costs incurred by BGPA, and to provide for ongoing maintenance of the memorial and / or make suitable arrangements with the Authority to cover initial and ongoing costs.

Even if all the above criteria are met, the Board has absolute discretion to approve or reject any application.

Review

The Board will review this Memorials Policy no later than five years from its endorsement (endorsed October 2011). Review date: August 2016.

Richard Simpson
Chairman
Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority Board of Management

References

Kings Park Conservation Plan – February 2000
Kings Park Conservation Strategy - April 2001