Queanbeyan Age founder on list of West Basin Park names

An artist's impression of West Basin Park. Photo: Supplied
An artist's impression of West Basin Park. Photo: Supplied

The founder of the Queanbeyan Age is one of four notable Canberrans to be put forward as the name of the new West Basin Park.

The shortlist includes a landscaper, a convict, an architect and the founder of the Queanbeyan Age; alas, Parky McParkface did not make the cut.

ACT Place Names Committee member Alen Mawer said John Gale was a "big lobbyist" for Canberra to become the site of Australia's capital. This led him to be often referred to as ‘the father of Canberra’.

Mr Mawer said Mr Gale stood at the future sight of new Parliament House and said it would make "a fabulous place for one of Australia's future cities".

Mr Gale was also the founder and editor of the Queanbeyan Age.

Mr Mawer said an Aboriginal Ngambri-man, Binder Marran of the Ngunnawal people, had almost made the list but the committee could not establish sufficient provenance.

"He's the first person whose name is in a European source which is associated with Canberra as a place," Mr Mawer said.

Mr Mawer said a sketch of Mr Marran existed but it has disappeared.

He didn't rule out Mr Marran's name being used for a Canberra icon at some point in the future.

One of the other nominees is Henry Rolland, who Mr Mawer said was responsible for a number of "beautiful" water colours of Canberra before World War I.

Also on the shortlist was Sylvia Crowe, who designed Commonwealth Park in 1964 by Lake Burley Griffin.

"[Commonwealth Park] was by and large welcomed as one of her masterpieces," Mr Mawer said.

The fourth person on the ticket was John McLoughlin. An Irishman sentenced to transportation for life for stealing two horses in 1809 in Dublin.

Ten years after arriving in Australia, Mr McLoughlin received a pardon and took up 2000 acres near the Molonglo Plains.

He established Canberry station around 1824 which is now the site of the National Museum of Australia in Acton.

It currently appears to be a two horse race with Henry Rolland slightly ahead of John Gale with two days left to vote.

You can have your say on the names for the park until Friday, October 27 at yoursay.act.gov.au.