To the Editor,
Re Cooke Park, Parkes
A number of citizens are worried about the future of Cooke Park under the new CBD plan. We feel that the plan is a very basic plan with green bits here and there, not a complete artistic representation of what the Park would really look like.
Every town has a small park that is dedicated to the history of the town by commemorative areas and Cooke Park is one of these. What concerns us is that we’ve lost so many of our Heritage buildings recently. Spicer Park grandstand is to be pulled down. Is Cooke Park next?
Cooke may not be demolished, but by removing it’s historical items isn’t this the same? Is the plan to rename it too? Cooke Park was named after Henry Harry Cooke an early miner who lived and mined in Currajong, he owned our first newspaper, was a Parliamentarian, friend and associate of Sir Henry Parkes, first Mayor and was involved in the first school at Currajong. The park was known as Cooke Park but wasn’t officially opened until 18th Nov. 1928. A fitting person for us to name our first public park after.
The Band Rotunda was an integral part of the Park for many years, built in 1912, it was paid for by donations and used by the Parkes Town Band, Parkes borough and Peak Hill Bands were among many visiting ones to use the Band Rotunda. It was sad to see it go and not be returned. At one time the Rotary Club were going to restore it. The Swan Pond feature, including Henry Parkes’ concrete statue donated by former resident Mrs Strickland and built in 1928, are gone. The statue was blown up by vandals and not replaced The water trough/ fountain, built to commemorate the bores/pumping of lifesaving water for Parkes will be removed.
We certainly need more space for festivals and events but is Cooke Park the right place? Why are we so keen to destroy our history and our special places? The only way we can stop the destruction of our special places and heritage is to write to the papers, Local Council and Councillors. Start a petition because decisions are being made by persons who don’t understand the significance of retaining our local heritage.
Yours Faithfully, Rosanne Jones