One man’s vision for Victoria Park

One man’s vision for Victoria Park

If the name sounds familiar that’s because GO Edwards Park was named to recognise his extraordinary but typical determination to transform it from a wasteland into the park enjoyed by the Victoria Park and wider community today.

He established the popular Burswood park from a rubbish tip during his time as City of Perth town clerk, creating what he called a ‘garden approach to the City’ in 1979 to mark the 150th anniversary of white settlement in WA.

The park was opened at a time when Victoria Park and surrounds were part of the City of Perth. The Town of Victoria Park was created in 1994 – after being renamed from a brief stint as the Town of Shepparton – in the post WA Inc restructure of the City of Perth.

Victoria Park Roads Board was established in 1894 and the area was declared a municipality in 1897 until it was dismantled and included in the City of Perth in 1917. Today’s State Government controversially wants parts of the Burswood Peninsula to transfer back to the City of Perth as part of local government reform, something the local council and community oppose.

Mr Edwards was 97 when he passed away on May 29 and was farewelled at a funeral service at Karrakatta yesterday.

Victoria Park Mayor Trevor Vaughan said Mr Edwards got sponsorship from companies to build the park.

‘He always took an interest in the park. He was a wonderful person, and it’s a sad passing for us all,’ he said.

According to newspaper reports from the time, the beautification of Burswood Island was part of Mr Edwards’ all encompassing dedication to rubbish recycling and reuse, having spent many of his holidays, at his own expense, studying waste disposal the world over.

He convinced 20 contractors in a period of recession to donate goods and services for a $1 million beautification of the area with $70,000 for planting from Perth council and $250,000 from the State Government.

He became a clerk at Kalgoorlie shire in 1937 and continued his career after WWII back at Kalgoorlie where he became treasurer in 1947. He became Subiaco town clerk in 1961 and was City of Perth town clerk from 1965 to 1981.