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. The Botanic Gardens and Parks Regulations 1999 do not allow for the scattering of ashes in any area of the designated lands.
Policy Statement: Memorials Policy 2016
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.
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, plinth, plaque, sign, object, building, public amenity (such as a bench), garden bed, and / or dedicated tree that has commemoration as its primary purpose.
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 parkland or 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.
Kings Park and Botanic Garden is an A Class Reserve, which welcomes nearly six million visitors annually. The BGPA recognises 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 Australians a sense of place.’ (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)’ (Kings Park Conservation Strategy, April 2001, p 24).
The State War Memorial precinct in Kings Park is rated in accordance with Heritage Council of WA Criteria of Cultural Heritage Significance for Heritage Places as being a zone of exceptional significance containing elements of exceptional significance, including the Cenotaph, the Concourse, the Court of Contemplation and the mature plantings (Kings Park Conservation Plan, February 2000, p 332-334). The Board has a responsibility under the BGPA Act to conserve these places of the highest cultural heritage significance when considering any proposals for development in this area.
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, other memorials have continued to be added to the park to commemorate significant events. As of June 2016, 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 over 1760 memorial plaques that line the honour avenues against a backdrop of eucalypt trees. The majority of these plaques honour service personnel who enlisted in Western Australia and died during war service and were either buried overseas or have no known graves.
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, State War Memorial 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.' (Kings Park Conservation Strategy, April 2001, p 22). Specifically, the Board supports the view expressed in the Kings Park Conservation Plan which states that the 'erection of new memorials within Kings Park should be strictly limited to prevent the proliferation of structures within the park.' (Kings Park Conservation Plan, February 2000, p 387).
The State War Memorial Cenotaph was established in 1929 and dedicated originally to over seven thousand members of the services who died in service in WWI, with those who enlisted in WA having their names appear on the marble tablets in the crypt. Later, the names of more than four thousand members of the services who died in service in WWII were added to the bronze honour rolls. Names of people who have died in service in subsequent conflicts including Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan are also included on the State War Memorial.
In 1952, the Court of Contemplation was added to the State War Memorial precinct, complementing the Cenotaph and commemorating the various theatres of war, including the major battles from both world wars which were carved into the stone walls. 'The reasoning was to adapt the WWI memorial to honour the dead of both wars rather than create a separate memorial.' (Erickson 2009 quoting J. Watson letter 1952). In 2000, the Flame of Remembrance in a Pool of Reflection was added to the Court of Contemplation, with four torches that burn continually and represent the Women’s Services, Navy, Army and Air Force. In 2011, the BGPA completed the Fraser Avenue Ceremonial Walk, removing a section of Fraser Avenue to create a pedestrian only precinct that would deliver an appropriate sense of dignity and respect for this significant memorial precinct.
These combined components within the State War Memorial precinct are intended to commemorate and honour all the dead and all the battles of various wars and conflicts in this very special precinct of exceptional significance. This will prevent the proliferation of further military memorials in Kings Park that may be proposed to highlight specific events and groups that are already represented and honoured in the most significant place in Kings Park. The Board acknowledges that some additional and specific military memorials have been approved in Kings Park in the past, but recognises the importance of maintaining its premium open space for passive recreational pursuits and potential new elements to commemorate future significant events that may arise over the long term future of the Park.
Similarly, part of the Board’s decision making in 2010 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. While 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.
In recognition of the information provided above, 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). There are many alternative locations for community memorials, including other public open space managed by State and Local Governments, and these should be considered and investigated before any application is made to BGPA.
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 or parkland setting or the open space amenity of the parkland, but rather conserve and enhance the integrity of the designated land and its historical, scientific and passive recreational values.
An application to create and / or dedicate a new memorial for any purpose 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.
An application to create and / or dedicate a memorial on BGPA designated lands will be considered in two distinct and separate stages.
In the first instance, the proponent should submit an application to the BGPA Chief Executive Officer that provides clear information as to the primary purpose of the proposed memorial, the significance of the event, person or group to Western Australia or nationally, the proposed location in the park and justification for selection of Kings Park specifically, and a broad outline of the memorial concept or 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, commemorative space 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, and
- It is designed to symbolise and celebrate great sacrifice and / or service to Western Australia or to Australia, and
- The BGPA designated lands are considered by the Board as the most appropriate location.
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 develop the detailed design in consultation with relevant BGPA staff and its consultant Landscape Architect and submit the detailed designs and supporting information (as required) for the Board to make its final determination.
Following receipt of the detailed designs and supporting information, the Board will then consider whether:
- Visitor 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 visitor 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 visitor amenity of the proposed location on a day to day basis, within the context of the current use of the area, 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 (eg: 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 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 BGPA 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.
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.
The Board will review this Memorials Policy no later than five years from its endorsement (endorsed June 2016).
Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority Board of Management
- Considine and Griffiths Architects. 2000: Kings Park Conservation Plan for the Developed Areas 2000,
- Erickson, D. 2009: A Joy Forever The Story of Kings Park & Botanic Garden,
- Considine and Griffiths Architects 2001: Kings Park Conservation Strategy, April 2001.