Darlington: Helena College students help maintain McDonald stairs

Shirley McDonald with Helena College students. Picture: Bruce Hunt
Shirley McDonald with Helena College students. Picture: Bruce Hunt

A LASTING legacy has been created for a long-time Darlington resident diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Helena College students helped volunteers from the Friends of Darlington Station to construct the McDonald steps in recognition Ian and Shirley McDonald.

Co-ordinator Gill Scott said the couple lived opposite the station reserve for more than half a century.

“They were involved from the early days in the restoration and revegetation of the Darlington Station Reserve,” she said.

“Ian was also very active in the local community so steps and a pathway were made from his house to the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail leading to the hall and toilets, which he opened, the Pines for his paper, and the post office.

“The pathway became known to all working on the Reserve as the McDonald Steps.”

Ms Scott said when the couple moved to a retirement village in Forrestfield last year she promised to maintain the steps.

“When Ian was given a terminal diagnosis earlier this year, I visited him in hospital and made a second promise to make the McDonald Steps a lasting legacy to him,” she said.

“By a stroke of luck, shortly after, Helena College contacted us for a group of Year 10 students to do community service as part of the International Baccalaureate and Duke of Edinburgh Award.

“Over Term 2, 11 students cleared weeds, made new paths, dug holes and planted local native seedling from the Shire, watered, put on protective surrounds, mulched and landscaped the whole area.

“It was an amazing and impressive achievement.”

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