Bob Smith's parkland vision recognised Bob Smith's parkland vision recognised

Return to Full Page

Former Calliope Shire Clerk Bob Smith's vision to create parklands on the Calliope River North camping area site has finally been recognised to coincide with his 80th birthday.

Bob's hard work in planting, hand watering and overseeing more than 400 trees' growth since late 1987, was recognised on Saturday, August 29 with a ceremony and plaque at the site.

Family, including six grandchildren and two great grandchildren, as well as former work colleagues Trevor Jones and Graham Kanofski attended along with Gladstone Region Mayor Gail Sellers and several serving councillors.

Bob's daughter in law, Tracey Smith, organised the event to honour his work saying his family was all proud of his achievements.

"It was something I hadn't expected and hadn't sought, but it was a pleasant surprise," Bob said.

"I didn't think I'd make it to the big eight zero, but now I've set another target of 85," he said as he contemplated visiting the parklands to see how the trees were progressing.

A keen gardener and wood turner, Bob helped establish the Historical Village in 1983 and saw the potential for a park to complement the setting.

After Council approval, he set about researching the types of cabinet timber trees that would be suitable to plant.

Nearly 30 years on, the Bunya Pines, Mackay Cedars and Silky Oaks, among other species, have grown to create an impressive grove known Australia wide as a popular camping area.

Bob and his wife were caravanning through Western Australia some years ago when they heard other travellers comment on the Calliope site, but in his humble manner he didn't let on who was responsible for creating it.

Most of the initial 412 trees were planted in 1988 and 1989, with some lost to fire, drought, pests and thoughtless vandalism.

Cr Sellers said the gathering and ceremony to honour Bob's work was a small way of recognising his contribution to the local landscape.

She also acknowledged the value of keeping written records, as he has done, of what was involved in such a project.

"So many things that have happened in the Gladstone region over the years are not known because they were not recorded," she said.

Bob kept a detailed written record of his parkland vision in diaries and thought they were lost.

They finally turned up yesterday much to his delight.

"I wanted to keep a record of the vision that I had for the development of the park, and now I've found the diaries, I'm going to do a physical check to see which trees have done well."

One tree that has done well since it was planted in 1989 began as a twig taken from the massive fig tree in Gladstone's Central Park.