Trashed Rocky memorial cuts families deep
WHEN Jason Donovan's brother Kenny died, the Koongal community came together to create a place of reflection at the site where he would fish and contemplate the world.
Donovan Park, on the edge of the Fitzroy River, also commemorates Mr Donovan's brother Laurie and another well-known local Neil Mark Smyth.
But mindless vandalism has shattered the tranquilly of the riverside park, after someone cut down parts of memorial trees and mangroves for fire wood.
"We've been coming down here since we were kids,” Mr Donovan said as he surveyed the damage.
"We come down on anniversaries and stuff for Kenny and Laurie.
"It's like anyone that loses someone, it's where you go to think of them. It's pretty important.”
Jason said he couldn't understand why anyone would cut the trees down, without thought for the reason the trees had been planted.
"It's not just our family, there's a lot of locals that use it,” Mr Donovan said.
Councillors Tony Williams and Neil Fisher, who represent the surrounding areas, were disgusted by the vandalism.
Cr Fisher said over 100 locals turned out in 2003 when the decision was made to turn the then-road reserve and horse paddock into a park where the community could enjoy a few hours quiet fishing.
He said the park was significant for the Donovan family as Kenny would regularly fish from the area, often sharing his catches with elderly neighbours.
Cr Williams described Donovan Park as iconic for Koongal and said he was in talks with Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne to create a formal land-based fishing area as part of Rockhampton Regional Council's Recreational Fishing Development Strategy.
"From the community;s perspective, it's something that's needless and something that's senseless to damage these types of trees stabalising the banks, but also as memorial shade trees as well,” he said.
"It's just something that really does go against the grain when we're out there trying to promote the area and make it a nice place for our local residents to come and visit.”
The damage to trees in the park comes as several road signs were vandalised in Frenchville over the weekend.
Cr Williams said one sign was knocked out of the ground, several others covered with graffiti and offensive images spray-painted on the road.