Monday, 15 June 2009

Jose Rizal statue, park to rise in Australia

A major Philippine park and our foremost national heroe’s statue will soon be replicated in New South Wales, Australia.

The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs has revealed that a 2.2-hectare property in the city of Campbelltown in New South Wales will be developed into the Rizal Park in Australia.

Consul General Eva Betita of the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney said the Rizal Park will rise in what used to be an empty reserve owned by the city government.

So how did this project come to fruition? It all started In 1988, when a group of Filipino-Australians and friends petitioned the city council of Campbelltown to name it Rizal Park.

The project is the brainchild of the Rizal Park Movement, a group of five Filipino-Australian associations that banded together in 2006 with the common vision of making the reserve into a park.

In June 2007, Campbelltown formally designated the reserve as a park to be funded by the city council.

The Philippine Consulate General in Sydney has been assisting the Rizal Park Movement’s project through endorsements and gathering support from other Filipino-Australian associations throughout the state of New South Wales.

The Rizal Park project received A$120,000 Federal Government grant from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, to be used for the initial construction of the park, including a playground and picnic facilities for use by the general public.

In addition, the Campbelltown city council will provide another A$140,000 for further improvements.

The construction plan for the park was presented to Campbelltown Mayor Russell Matheson, Consul General Betita, Rizal Park Movement chair Lourdes Kaiser, Knight Commander Maximilio Lopez of the Knights of Rizal, and members of the Filipino-Australian Community in Campbelltown last May 29.

The Rizal Park Movement plans to further improve the park with landscaping, shade structures, barbecue facilities, car park, and a cycle way.

The Order of the Knights of Rizal in New South Wales has also committed to commission a statue of Dr. Jose Rizal to be placed prominently in the area.

Campbelltown is a prosperous industrial-agricultural city and hosts the third largest concentration of Filipino-Australians numbering 4,108. (http://goodnewspilipinas.com)

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