The special birthday is shared by service organisation The Rotary Club of Australia and 99-year-old Wahroonga-born Mary Carter.
The much-loved Wahroonga Park and the Rotary Club of Australia are both celebrating 100 years in 2022 and to celebrate, a community event is being held on Saturday February 26 to commemorate both milestones. Don’t miss the Centenary Picnic in the Park!
Part of the event will include a special dedication plaque for a time capsule organised by the Rotary club. Local businesses, community groups, schools and parishes have contributed contents towards the capsule and this will be officially buried in the Park in the lead up to the Picnic in the Park event. Ku-ring-gai Council have agreed to dig up the time capsule in 50 years… we wonder what the future generation will think about the reflections (mostly about Wahroonga Park and experiences of Covid) left by today’s Ku-ring-gai citizens.
The Picnic in the Park event will feature live entertainment and food and coffee vans from the local area. Members of the community are encouraged to bring a family picnic as they join in the many celebrations and centenary spirit at this wonderful historical event. The ceremony starts at 5pm with reflections by Mayor Jeff Pettett, Hon Paul Fletcher and Hon Alister Henskens and a poem created for the occasion and read by Rob Ferguson. Local organisations that serve our community will be there to explain their work and volunteering options.
“This event is an important recognition of our local Park history as much as it is the appreciation of the work by Rotary in Australia” says Peter Kirkwood OAM, Club President.
Publicity about the event stirred the interest of Elizabeth Chappel whose grandfather Frederick Harper Booth, known to many as FHB, was one of the leading citizens who banded together with others to acquire and gift the park land to Council in 1921 on the proviso that it remained a public park. Elizabeth put Rotarians in touch with her mother, Mrs Mary Carter, (née Booth) who is also celebrating her centenary year. Born in 1922, Mary lived in her family home, Oakfield, previously called Koreela, on Coonanbarra Road, next to the then manse of St John’s Presbyterian Church, with Wahroonga Prep School on the other side of the property.
Rotary members visited 99 year old Mary recently (her birthday is in August). Mary advised with a chuckle how she went to Wahroonga Prep for the first years of her schooling, how she used to love running through Wahroonga Park on errands to the shops across the way, especially when it was for ice creams, and how after she started at Abbotsleigh School, she would always walk through the Park. She remembers her mother Pollie, wife of FHB, being busy planting trees in the newly established Wahroonga Park and also, it is thought by the family, helping to plant out the rose garden.
FHB, was also President of the Wahroonga Progress Association and prominent in the purchase and establishment of the Park. He was a wool buyer who frequently travelled overseas by ship to purchase wool and daughter Mary accompanied him on one of those trips with her sister Helen which she recalled for us with nostalgic delight. She also delighted in telling the story of her wedding in St John’s Presbyterian Church. The minister’s daughter was her bridesmaid and the two of them walked in their bridal array from Mary’s house, Oakfield, through the fence to the manse and from there to the church.
Mary Carter, along with her extensive family, will be at the Park’s Centenary Picnic next Saturday 26th February to enjoy celebrating her 100th year of life with the Wahroonga Park that was part of her childhood, in the 100th year of Rotary.
- Saturday, 26 February 2022 | 04:00 PM – 07:00 PM
Wahroonga Park, Corner Millewa and Illoura Avenue, Wahroonga View Map
Main image: Yelp user Nilu H.