Monday, 1 September 2014

Victoria Park holds a few surprises

Head's up: there's a neat article by Anne McEwan on the History page of the Waikato Times today (I love that they have a History page!!) about the Thames Boer War memorial in Victoria Park. I'd link you to the article here, but unfortunately it seems the History page doesn't feature on the Waikato Times' website. Anyway, it's a nice overview of the origins of the memorial, and it reminded me of some really neat photos of the monument I took on a trek through Victoria Park about a month ago.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

I always thought it was a pity the monument was on a shady edge of Victoria Park instead of in pride of place, especially since it was originally erected on Pollen St (on the corner outside the new ANZ, I think? It was moved because it was a traffic hazard), and every other war memorial in town seems to have a prime position (the WWI memorial towers over the whole town, for example). Much like the Thames Boer War rifles (which make a very professional display on the back wall of the meeting room at The Treasury), this memorial seemed to be relegated to a back corner, where most of the community would be surprised to stumble upon it.

However, when I went for a walk through this part of town and took these photos, I was surprised how much brilliant stuff there was too look at in this particular 'back corner.' You've got your band rotunda, as always:

But these little dudes are all over the show as well:

Aren't they brilliant?

Plus, there's this work of awesomeness unfolding on the footpath:

Ending with this out on the point:

...which is a sculpture by celebrated New Zealand artist Michael Smither.

I was vaguely aware all of these things existed, but they make for a pretty spectacular walk along the shore line when you take them all in in one go. Still, it surprises me how many locals don't know about this gorgeous corner of Thames, even with the addition of all of this extra brilliance over the last few years.

Anyway, the Underfoot Gallery isn't quite complete yet, and I hope that by the time it is, Victoria Park would have regained so of its former glory as a much-loved Thames destination. And then, as a central attraction along the art trail, the Boer War memorial might regain some community recognition.

Side note: I'm happy for people to freely use these photos for their own purposes, but as I personally took the photos I'd appreciate credit. A link back to this post is ideal! Cheers.

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