Rhodo Festival comes good with donation for park gates

Donation: Adele Colman and Simon Hare with Rhododendron Festival president Elizabeth Giddey.
Donation: Adele Colman and Simon Hare with Rhododendron Festival president Elizabeth Giddey.

Blackheath Soldiers Memorial Park is to get a new set of entrance gates, thanks in part to a $5,000 donation from the Blackheath Rhododendron Festival committee.

Hoops of fun: One of the participants in last year's grand parade at the Blackheath Rhododendron Festival.

Hoops of fun: One of the participants in last year's grand parade at the Blackheath Rhododendron Festival.

The month-long Rhodo Festival was officially opened last Friday, when committee president, Elizabeth Giddey, presented the cheque to representatives of Friends of Blackheath Pool & Memorial Park (FoBP&MP) and the Blackheath Streetscape Group.

The donation will allow plans for a new entrance gate to go ahead in time for Anzac Day 2018.

Ms Giddey said the committee was pleased to be able to help the gates project.

“Every year the festival gives funds for community projects. This promises to be a wonderful addition to the park.”

Simon Hare, convenor of FoBP&MP, said next year marked the centenary of the end of the first World War and the memorial park was dedicated to those who served in that war.

"Our groups have been concerned that reason the park exists is lost on visitors and with time could be lost to new residents,” he said.

Every year the festival gives funds for community projects.

Festival president Elizabeth Giddey

After consultation with the RSL, they felt it would be timely for the park to have an entrance that would give it its proper name, and be a beautiful and evocative feature for the park as well.

Blackheath Soldiers Memorial Park is designed as a series of garden rooms, with the area encompassing the pool planted with a wall of rhododendrons, one for each local who served in WW1. 

These are currently in full flower, making for a singular swimming experience, especially when the pool opens on Saturday, Rhodo Day (with free entry all day from 9.30am).

Other events on Saturday include the grand parade from 11.30am, stalls, rides and entertainment in the Gardens opposite the station and in Govetts Leap Road, motorbike displays and pie-eating competition. The art show is open all week.

Adele Colman from the Streetscape Group congratulated the festival, now in its 65th year, adding that "donations back to the community from the festival are only possible because of the fabulous support from the festival's volunteer base". She thanked all those who help make the festival such a success every year. 

For more see www.rhodofestival.org.au.