Suggestion to honour former local Mayor

A former local councillor is suggesting renaming Chamberlain Square in honour of former long serving Mayor, the late Robert Wilson OAM.

Businessman Ian Chambers believes something prominent in the town should bear Mr Wilson’s name in recognition of his outstanding service to the community.

He also fears time is lapsing since the tragic car accident which took Mr Wilson’s life.

Mr Chambers is also seeking the views of the community to see what they think should be done to remember Mr Wilson.

Cr Michael Greenwood raised the issue at the last meeting of the shire council.

The matter generated considerable debate, but eventually was deferred pending a meeting with Mr Wilson’s wife, Vicki.

During the council discussion, other suggestions to recognise Mr Wilson were raised, including the Parkes Airport.

Mr Chambers said he wrote to council with the suggestion to rename the Square back in May.

“Arguably, in his more that three decades of service to the shire, Robert did more to advance the development and amenity of this town and shire than any other mayor or citizen in the past almost 130 years of our existence as a municipality,” he said.

“Most of the streets, parks, civic areas etc. in town have been named after earlier citizens and mayors, for examaple Cooke Park and Spicer Park.   

“This has been an ongoing tradition, and a very worthy one.   

“But in the case of Chamberlain Square, it was named in 1939 on a resolution of Council to honour British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain following his talks with Adolf Hitler and the subsequent signing of the  the Munich agreement of September 29, 1938,” Mr Chambers revealed.    

“Chamberlain jubilantly claimed on his return to Britain 'Peace in our Time'.    

“The agreement was spurned by Hitler and the world was plunged into the horror of World War II.   

“Historians have since 'vigoursly and universally condemned' Chamberlain's failure to cope with the aggressive policy of Hitler and Mussolini.

“In hindsight, the naming of Chamberlain Square was a mistake, and maybe now is the time to correct that mistake and continue our tradition of naming significant local areas in honour of our own,” Mr Chambers said.

“I believe Chamberlain Square is the most appropriate location to honour the memory of Robert - the centre of town, seen by people on an almost daily basis, and where better than under the shadow of Henry Parkes?”

Mr Chambers - who served more than 10 years as a councillor - said Council had claimed in the past that making the change in name was 'too hard'.

“But this is our town, and sometimes one has to make an effort to make things happen - this is one of those times,” he stressed.  

“I ask that Council, and the individual councillors, reconsider this matter.

“Three years have elapsed since Robert's passing and its time he was recognised in a meaningful and appropriate way.  

 “If anyone can suggest a location that is more suitable and appropriate than Chamberlain Square so be it,  but I certainly can't.

“I have no doubt the silent majority - those people who knew and respected Robert for what he did and what he stood for - would welcome this change.

“Then we would see the memory of Robert Wilson preserved in a significant way for current and future generations of this town to see, and acknowledge the magnificant contribution he made,” Mr Chambers said.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Local residents are urged to indicate their views on the subject, through emails to the Champion Post, and letters to local councillors.

The late Robert Wilson.

The late Robert Wilson.

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