What began with just a small bronze commemorative plaque and a single tree back in 2002 has now become a stunning sandstone Memorial with three bronze plaques set in a designated Lions Memorial Garden.
As is usual each year, the Carlingford-Dundas Lions Club conducts a National Tree Planting Day BBQ for Parramatta City Council. At that BBQ back in 2002 in Upjohn Park, Dundas, a member of Council’s staff, on hearing of the death of Lion Reg Kline (which had occurred only a week or so previously) offered to put aside an area in the Park, where a tree could be planted and a plaque installed to commemorate Reg’s work during the 16 short months he had been a Lion. That offer was gratefully accepted and the tree and plaque were in place in December of that year.
Following the death of one of the Club’s greatest Lions, PDG Don Furnass, three years later, the Club commemorated his memory with a similar plaque and the planting of another tree. At the same time, by planting a third tree and unveiling a third plaque, we remembered eight other Lions, who had died while serving their community.
Unfortunately, over the years, the designated area became overgrown and the trees and the plaques became difficult to locate.
Late last year, an approach was made to Council with a request for another more suitable site in the Park to be made available.
We have been overwhelmed with the generosity and co-operation of Parramatta City Council in providing the new site for our Memorial and for naming it the Carlingford-Dundas Lions Memorial Garden. And then there is Ian Furnass, son of the late PDG Don Furnass, and the principal of Furnass Landscaping Enterprises Pty. Ltd. Ian provided, at his cost, the sandstone Memorial and landscaping which have enhanced the site enormously. Wonderful gestures from both Council and Ian.
On Wednesday, 25 July, the Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Councillor Lorraine Wearne, officially unveiled the Memorial and dedicated the Carlingford-Dundas Lions Memorial Garden.
We were particularly pleased to welcome at the unveiling and dedication, representatives of some of those deceased Lions. Firstly, there was Kim Riddell, the daughter of Charter Member the Late Allan Riddell; the Late Kevin Paton’s Lions Lady Roely; and the Late PDG Don Furnass’ Lions Lady Barbara, their daughter Coralie and son Ian together with Ian’s wife, Liz.
Other departed Lions whose names appear on the centre (third) plaque are Charter President PDG Athol Angel, Ted Tricker, Neil Hudson, Ray Clorley, Frank Simington and Bill Waarts.
The Club is eternally grateful to both the Lord Mayor and her fellow Councillors and to Ian Furnass for providing this Memorial Garden and, thereby, giving the Club a magnificent and meaningful way by which to remember our colleagues whose deaths brought to an end their community service.
As far as we are aware, this is the only Lions Club Memorial of its type in District 201N5, but would welcome hearing of any other.