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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Launceston builds on Workers’ Memorial Park plans

The City of Launceston Council will advertise a tender tomorrow for the completion of the remaining stages of the Workers’ Memorial Park at Elizabeth Gardens.

Since 2009, Elizabeth Gardens in Invermay has been the location of the annual memorial service to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day annually on April 28.

The site has since been formally acknowledged through approval by the council as a dedicated place for commemoration and recognition of those who have lost their lives at work, at the request of Launceston father, Guy Hudson.

Mr Hudson’s son, Matthew, was tragically killed at the age of 16 when the forklift he was driving tipped over at the Blue Ribbon Meatworks at Killafaddy in 2004. Mr Hudson has since become one of Australia’s most prominent advocates for safer workplaces and
tougher penalties for non-compliant businesses.

“It’s very meaningful to see the final stages of the garden redevelopment about to be underway, because this year marks 20 years since Matthew’s death,” Mr Hudson said.

“Before the garden, there was no central site we could go to remember all those we’ve lost in the workplaces.

“This is really important because we’ve got to educate each other and especially young people about what our rights and responsibilities are in the workplace.

“The garden is a place school groups can visit after going to the museum and reflect on its meaning.”

City of Launceston Mayor, Matthew Garwood said the park’s design was unique and sensitive, intended to operate as a space of reflection and commemoration for the families whose loved ones died at work while also serving as a permanent reminder to the community of what can happen when safety is not front of mind and workers lose their lives.

“There is no other memorial dedicated to deceased workers in Tasmania,” Mayor Garwood said.

“The project will facilitate the construction of a commemorative walk, created by the combination of a series of arbours, seating and a path, using materials selected due to their relevance to a range of employment sectors.”

The project will also include refurbishing existing walkways with new surface treatments, a new pavilion, provision for individual memorials to be installed in the future, both area and decorative lighting and associated infrastructure such as stormwater drainage, water and electrical services.

Pending the tender period, construction is expected to start in September. The gardens will be closed during the construction period, but pedestrian access and footpaths will be open as usual.

This project, made possible through funding contributions by Unions Tasmania, the Australian Government, the State Government, the City of Launceston Council and other generous contributors, now aims to complete the remaining stages of the park development to provide the full intent of the commemorative park design.

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