Local identity Connie Colleen and members of Heritage-culture Arts Promotions Incorporated (HAPI), as well as Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall and Councillors Tom Mavec and Sue Whelan, celebrated the unusual milestone ahead of Canberra’s centenary celebrations and Queanbeyan’s 175th birthday next year.
“It’s fitting that we celebrate John Gale’s birthday – particularly as we approach Queanbeyan’s 175th birthday next year,” Cr Overall said.
“Congratulations to Connie-Colleen and the community for the celebration.
“John Gale’s personal contribution to Queanbeyan and the region is part of our heritage. Also, his persistent and persuasive advocacy was highly influential in convincing the government of the day, particularly Sir John Forrest and King O’Malley, Minister for Home Affairs, that Canberra was the ideal site for the federal capital – not Dalgety, which was favoured at the time.
“Sir Austin Chapman back in 1924 referred to John Gale as being “entitled to be known as the Father of Canberra”, and hence the statue of the man who lived to see his vision realised.
“John Gale was born in England in 1831 and was 98 when he died on July 15, 1929 at his home in Lowe Street, Queanbeyan. He has been dubbed the Father of Canberra for his role in lobbying for the federal capital to be based in Canberra, a campaign that took some 20 years between 1890 and 1910.
A bronze sculpture commemorating John Gale was unveiled on March 10, 2001.