NEW SOUTH WALES (June 7) — After waiting for 20 years, a Rizal Park in Australia, situated in 2.2-hectare property in the city of Campbelltown, New South Wales, will be developed, Consul General Eva G. Betita announced.
In a report report to Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto G. Romulo, Betita said the property used be an empty reserve owned by the city government that was being preserved for future use.
In 1988, 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 Rizal Park reserve into a park that will 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. The grant will be used for the initial construction of the park, to include 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, Philippine Consul General Eva G. 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 tree planting and landscaping and the construction of shade structures, barbecue facilities, car parking, and a cycle way. The Order of the Knights of Rizal in New South Wales has also committed to commission a statue of Dr. José Rizal to be placed prominently in the area.
Campbelltown in the state of New South Wales is a prosperous industrial-agricultural town and hosts the third largest concentration of Australian-Filipinos numbering approximately 4,108.