Murdered nurses denied memorial
MURDERED Sydney nurses Lorraine Ruth Wilson and Wendy Joy Evans will not be memorialised by having a Toowoomba monument dedicated to them, dashing the hopes of family members.
Instead the Clewley Park monument will symbolise the community's stance against violence after Toowoomba Regional Council carried a motion to deny the women, who were killed at Murphys Creek, a plaque.
Eric Wilson, the brother of Lorraine Wilson, said he was "totally disgusted and hurt" by the decision.
"It was an excellent opportunity to make amends and acknowledge what happened, not only to the girls but the community who have been held hostage for 40 years.
"A generalised memorial is all good and fine, but it's not what I wanted initially and it's not what was implied after the inquest, when everyone found out about the dark underside of Toowoomba.
"Once again the council has turned its back on the community.
"I wanted a legacy, a little memorial plaque, saying we hold the memory of these girls close to our hearts.
"I thought it would have been a very fitting legacy for the girls.
"That would have been an excellent platform for the town to start to heal," he said.
Council's Environment and Community Committee carried a motion to recommend the approval of a sculptural installation in Clewley Park that emphasises "Toowoomba says no to violence", subject to the final design being approved by the council's CEO after consultation.
The committee also carried a motion to advise the Toowoomba Says No to Violence Committee that plaques dedicated to individuals were not considered appropriate in the public park context and that other alternatives should be sought to remember the two nurses.
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It was instead suggested that a scholarship be dedicated to the women, which will help preserve their memory.
In April this year Toowoomba Says No to Violence Committee submitted a proposal requesting that the council place a memorial, consisting of a white magnolia tree and plaque, in Clewley Park and designate it as a "memorial to women who have suffered violence at the hands of others".
The group proposed that the memorial could be further enhanced by an additional plaque dedicated to the two murder victims, which would recognise the tragic event and show the determination of the community to bring an end to this type of violence.
The anti-violence group's deputy chairman Peter Rookas applauded the council's decision.
"That is a tremendous decision by the council, it shows that our city leaders are very aware that there is an issue with violence.
"They are sending a clear message to the community and to visitors that we won't tolerate violence."
"We are disappointed for the family, but we will recognise that those incidents did happen during the sod turning ceremony which is planned for November 25."