Published: 20 November 2017

SPECIAL INTEREST MATTERS Tuesday 14 November 2017

Ms FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I recently attended the dedication opening of the Mount Lyell Disaster Memorial Park.  The sculpture is a work of art and a credit to all involved, as well as being an appropriate memorial of a truly tragic event.  The memorial provides a place for reflection and remembrance.  The Mount Lyell disaster of 1912 was caused by an underground fire where smoke and lack of oxygen killed 42 men.

The service was respectful and meaningful to all involved.  Shane Pitt spoke of the commitment of those involved in the Lions Club of Queenstown at their 50th birthday celebratory dinner the same evening.  Much of what I relate to you today is provided by Shane. 

The project is a realisation of the vision of local artist, Ivan Stringer, who approached Project Queenstown with an idea he had had for some time to give something to Queenstown reflecting the worst mine disaster in Australia's history.  This vision had started during his youth. 

Project Queenstown approached the Queenstown Lions Club and Queenstown Rotary Club about the idea.  Given that they originally built the fountain in 1973 and restored it in 2005, the Lions Club thought they could and would assist with the project.  At the time, Project Queenstown were to be project managers, assisted by Tasmanian Community Resources.  With the change in Project Queenstown and the unfortunate administration of Tasmanian Community Resources, the Queenstown Lions Club was left with the huge task of completing the project.

There were plenty of hurdles to overcome from the start.  The original sculptor, Mr John Parish, who was originally contracted to complete the sculpture, injured himself and was unable to complete the bronze work, although all the necessary moulds were completed and the pickaxe been poured and cleaned up, ready for installation in the final sculpture.  Ivan took it upon himself to assist John with work on the sculpture before John was injured.  First to move the project forward, as it had become a slow process with John working on his own, and also to gain experience himself to complete the bronze works.

Unknown to the public at that stage, this experience would be needed to complete the project.  Shane acknowledged what a huge task the Lions Club had embarked on, given only minimal experience in this area.  He noted that this resulted in plenty of googling for information

The first of the tasks was to bring all the moulds and pouring equipment from John Parish's workshop in Deloraine to Queenstown to complete the project.  Thanks also goes to Mr Simon Dilger from West Coast Transport for his assistance with his tilt tray truck and TPW Electrical Engineering for its forklift to undertake this task.  It is quite a big structure.

Although all members of the club assisted with the project, special mention must be made of the work Lions member Trevor Giles put into the project.  If not for his research and the work he put into the project, the club believes it would never have made it to completion of this wonderful sculpture and memorial.  Thanks also goes to Lions members Ivan Stringer and Michael Churchill, who spent many hours on the project assisting Trevor Giles.

The Lions Club original estimate of in-kind time was 175 hours, given the sculpture was to be done by a sculptor with Tasmanian Community Resources to undertake most on-site works and manage the project.  The reality was a little different.  To describe the project more fully, it started on 1 September 2012.  The original project estimate budget was $112 961.20, including all money and in-kind contributions.  In addition, the Lions Club obtained an extra $25 000 from the Tasmanian Government through the miners' displacement package to undertake construction of the wall around the park, part of the original plan.  This enabled the employment of one part-time displaced miner and assistance from the artist.  This meant the updated budget was $137 961.20 with major partners, the Tasmanian Community Fund, providing $38 500 for sculpture works; Copper Mines of Tasmania providing $21 250 for sculpture and plaque materials; and Tasmanian governments, both Liberal and Labor, $30 500 in total, with $25 000 from the funds for the displacement of miners package.  The Queenstown Lions Club provided a significant sum of $39 137.33 by way of in-kind labour of 1890 hours of work at $20 an hour and $1337.33 in cash for the original promotional video seeking sponsorship.

The Lions Club was able to attract an additional 40 sponsors for the project, some money through the purchase of King Billy trees in the park and some in-kind support through the provision of labour and materials.  All the sponsors are named on the plaque at the entry to the memorial park, which was unveiled at the dedication.  The Lions Club contributed more than 1890 hours to the project.  The project also had benefits for some local civil contractors through purchase of rock for the wall and hire of excavators for earthworks.

As I mentioned, thanks also go to TPW Electrical Engineering for the use of its fabrication workshop for the completion of the sculpture with no cost to the Lions Club for the use of equipment, power and materials, and also to Mine Correct Tasmania for the numerous metres of concrete for wall foundations.

This park is a respectful and beautiful memorial to honour the 42 men who died in Australia's largest mining tragedy.  The planning for construction of this memorial was an enormous project for such a small club of only 13 members.  The club was involved from the start in the project, working to secure funding.  I acknowledge and admire the work in making this a reality and sincerely thank all those involved.  The Lions Club of Queenstown is a small and very vibrant club with a broad range of age in its membership, including young members who are often difficult to attract to some of these clubs.  These young members are actively engaged in leadership positions, which augers well for the club.  The same evening the club celebrated it fiftieth birthday, which was also another well attended special event.

I encourage all members to visit this beautiful sculpture and memorial park next time they are in beautiful Queenstown.

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