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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

20 December 2002

Not Forgotten - from Chinese Miners to a Lord

The lives of prime ministers, ill-fated early immigrants and Chinese gold-miners will be commemorated through memorials to be funded by the Commonwealth Government.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, today announced that these memorials would be among five projects planned for New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

They are to be funded through the Commemoration of Historic Events and Famous Persons Program which provides small grants to commemorate nationally significant people and events and to maintain the graves of former Australian Prime Ministers and Governors-General.

Minister Kemp said that many Australians had made memorable contributions to the nation’s development and its identity - from the early Chinese workers who toiled on the Australian goldfields in the mid-1800s to the nation’s second-youngest Prime Minister, Lord Stanley Melbourne Bruce, who was 39 when he took up office in 1923.

‘These are some of the well-known Australians whose lives have made a difference to our identity as a nation,’ Dr Kemp said. ‘Many anonymous individuals have also made their mark - such as the 170 immigrants who travelled to Australia on the Ticonderoga in 1852 and died of typhoid. Their deaths led to a better quarantine system for Victoria.’

Minister Kemp said that the grants would contribute to:

‘These memorials will help us to remember the many fascinating and sometimes tragic lives that have contributed to the development of today’s Australia,’ Dr Kemp said.

Media contact:
Dr Kemp’s office Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Details of the projects funded under the Commemoration of Historic Events and Famous Persons Program


Location of monument: Foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin

The grant: $5000 to the Office of Australian War Graves to erect a plaque to commemorate former Australian Prime Minister Lord Bruce.

Lord Stanley Melbourne Bruce (1883-1967) was a barrister before entering Federal Parliament in 1918 as the member for Flinders. He served with distinction in the first World War, being awarded the Military Cross and the Croix de Guerre. He became Prime Minister in 1923 when he was only 39 – Australia’s second youngest prime Minister. Lord Bruce was serving as Prime Minister when the federal parliament moved to Canberra in 1927. He held office for six and a half years. From 1933 until 1946 he served as Australia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. In 1947 he was awarded a peerage and became Viscount Bruce of Melbourne. He served in a number of positions with the United Nations from 1947 to 1951 and as the foundation Chancellor of the Australian National University from 1952 to 1961. He died in London in 1967 and at his request, his ashes were scattered in Lake Burley Griffin.

Grafton, New South Wales

Location of monument: Schaeffer House Museum, 190 Fitzroy Street, Grafton

The grant: $1000 to the Clarence River Historical Society to preserve and display the memorabilia of Sir Earl Page.

Sir Earle Page was elected to the Federal Parliament in 1919 as the member for Cowper, a seat he held for 42 years. He was involved in the establishment of the Country Party in 1920 and 1921, emerging as its parliamentary leader. He negotiated a coalition with the Nationalists in 1923 and served as Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer in the Bruce Government from 1923 until 1929. From 1934 to 1939 he served as minister for Commerce and Minster for Health in the Lyons-led Government. In 1939, on Lyons death, he was caretaker Prime Minister for 20 days. During World War II he was Australian special envoy to the British War Cabinet.

Portsea, Victoria

Location of monument: Old Cemetery Site, Quarantine Station, Portsea

The grant: A grant of $5000 will go to the Nepean Historical Society for the erection of a memorial to commemorate the immigrants who died during the voyage of the Ticondogera and on shore at the Quarantine Station.

The discovery of gold in Australia had a marked effect on the supply of rural labour. The SS Ticonderoga was chartered to transport farm workers to replace the workers who had deserted for the goldfields. It sailed with 795 immigrants and 100 of these died during the three month voyage. When the ship arrived in November 1852, 454 immigrants were ill, mainly with typhus. This led to the establishment of the first permanent quarantine station in Victoria. The Quarantine Station has important associations with the development of Australian and particularly Victorian quarantine philosophy and design. The immigrants who died were buried in the Quarantine Station Cemetery but there is no identification that this area was once a cemetery.

Beechworth, Victoria

Location of monument: Chinese Gardens Lake Sambell.

The grant: A grant of $4862 will go to the Indigo Shire Council to install two marble Chinese lions at the entrance of the Chinese Water Garden to commemorate the impact of Chinese settlement in Beechworth and their contribution to the history of north east Victoria.

Gold was discovered in Beechworth in 1852 and it was two years later when the first Chinese began settling there. There was a large Chinese population which lived and worked on the Beechworth diggings during the second half of the nineteenth century and played a large part in the growth of the area.

Cairns, Queensland

Location of monuments: intersection of the Esplanade and Aplin Street, Cairns.

The grant: A grant of $3138 will go to the ’56 Olympic Torchbearers Club To erect a commemorative memorial in Cairns to mark the commencement of the 1956 Olympic Torch Relay.

The relay was the real commencement of the staging of the first Olympic Games in the southern hemisphere as well as the first Olympic Games in Australia. Some 2,830 young people participated in running the torch to Melbourne in time for the opening of the Games. The relay was at that time the longest ever attempted by an Olympic host.

Commonwealth of Australia