Council to protect heritage site

THE Walloon waterhole immortalised by Henry Lawson's poem The Babies of Walloon is about to have the protection of Ipswich City Council.

Planning and Development Committee chairman Cr Paul Tully said the council had decided to list the Babies of Walloon waterhole as a "character place" under the Ipswich Heritage Planning Scheme.

The lagoon was the site of the tragic drowning of two Walloon girls, Bridget Kate and Mary Jane Broderick.

Aged six and nine, the two daughters of a railway lengths man at Walloon were sent on an errand by their parents and, it is believed, were attracted by lilies to the waterhole.

They were found drowned in 1.8m of water at the waterhole that lies within the boundaries of the property on Haigslea-Amberley Rd, Walloon.

Cr Tully said the site on the Haigslea-Amberley Rd had cultural heritage significance because it had sparked the imagination of one of Australia's greatest writers.

"In 1891, legendary Australian author Henry Lawson was so captivated by the sad but true tale of two young girls who drowned in the waterhole at Walloon, he immortalised them in his poem, The Babies of Walloon," he said.

Cr Tully said that following today's decision, a provisional character listing would protect the waterhole and a designated area surrounding it while community consultation was undertaken.

In recent years the poem and the publication of a book by Ipswich author Judith Baker in 1999 has rekindled the local community's interest in the tragic story.

The main park in Walloon has been renamed Henry Lawson Bicentennial Park, and has a statue of the Babies of Walloon.



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