Iconic Maryborough rose garden turns 100

THE iconic rose garden in Maryborough is 100-years-old.

President of the Rotary Club of Maryborough-Sunrise Adrian Pitman; President of Maryborough Zonta Denise Wilschut; President of the Maryborough Horticultural Society Joy Duke and Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour admire the white flowering Jacaranda planted for the centenary celebrations at the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden. PHOTO: Supplied.

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour and Maryborough Rotarians, members of the Maryborough Horticulture Society and the Zonta Club of Maryborough planted a white Jacaranda in the Elizabeth Rose Garden on Friday to mark its centenary.

“There is no better way to celebrate the 100th birthday of a park than by planting a tree that will be around for the next 100 years,” said Cr Seymour.

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The park has had many different uses over the years but has always been a focal point for the Heritage City.

It was the site of Maryborough’s second official cemetery – opening in 1871 and closing in 1873 as the city grew up around it.

Between 1907 and 1921, existing headstones and graves were moved to the cemetery in Walker Street and the old cemetery became a public park.

In 1921 the trustees of the site handed it over to the Council and most of the remains and headstones were moved to the new cemetery, although it is believed that some graves remain.

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Information about the graves and a plan and index of the grave sites is on display in the rotunda in the park.

In 1937, the Maryborough City Council, with the encouragement of Maryborough Rotarians, officially adopted the name ‘Coronation Park’ to commemorate the coronation of King George VI.

And in 1939 Rotarians gifted the city with a playground and shelter in the park. The Rotary emblem is still present on the wall of the entry gates on the corner of Kent and Tooley streets and stamped into the cement around the drinking fountain.

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To coincide with the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Maryborough, Rotarians requested that the name be changed and on June 5, 1954 the park was renamed Elizabeth Park.

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In 1961 the name was again changed, this time to Elizabeth Park Rose Garden when Ron and Anne Everett, from the Paulen Park Nursery on Iindah Road, donated 4,000 rose bushes to the council.

“The layout of the gardens is the result of a design competition held in 1954,” Cr Seymour said.

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“Ideas from the winning design, as well as those from other entrants, were used to create the park layout.”

The park was also the focal point for the celebrations of the centenary of Zonta International,  organised by the Zonta Club of Maryborough in 2019.

The club had four columns, each bearing the information on the contributions made to the community by six Maryborough women, installed in the park.

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Garden beds in the park were also dedicated to yellow-flowering roses, the official colour of Zonta.

A new rose arbour to be built in the park will cement the links between the park and the Maryborough Horticultural Society.

“One of our members remembered walking through a rose arbour in the park when she was a child visiting the park,” Society president Joy Duke said.

“The society is sponsoring the climbing roses that will grow over the new arbour which will be installed.”

The society members have been regulars at the garden tending the beds and pruning bushes.

They also planted 20 Governor Macquarie roses in one of the beds.

The park is also part of Council’s ceremony to celebrate the 100th birthday of Maryborough residents.

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The centenarian and their family help plant a Queensland firewheel in an avenue of trees around the perimeter of the park.

The planting of a white Jacaranda as part of the park centenary celebration will reinforce the park’s links to Queens Park, Cr Seymour said.

The purple flowering variety, Jacaranda mimosifolia, has been used extensively throughout the city in both private and public gardens; and there is an avenue of them along the Sussex Street boundary of Queens Park and they are throughout Mary River Parklands.

“The white variety is not as common, but still very showy which befits the Elizabeth Rose Garden.”

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