When RPS was engaged by the Village Building Company as the lead planning consultant for Woodlinks Village, our team was excited to begin work on a new residential community that would help meet the growing demand for housing in the City of Ipswich.
Open space amenity would be a key feature of the masterplan, but when it was discovered that the graves of some of Ipswich’s first residents – the Verrall family – were located within an area designated for parkland, the team’s attention soon turned to locating the graves and integrating this cultural heritage into the new community’s design.
The result is Verrall Park - a unique green space that tells the story of the land’s former owners through two heritage ‘character places’ – the Verrall Pioneer Graves and the Verrall Property Hoop Pines. The park was opened to the public in April 2016 and now draws visitors from far beyond the expected catchment of Woodlinks Village.
Verrall Family Pioneer Graves
Originally from England, George and Sarah Verrall settled in the Ipswich District in 1850. They had 14 children and now have up to 3,000 known decedents, 2,000 of which still live locally. They established a family cemetery on their property and the earliest burial there is believed to date back to 1880.
RPS’ Planning and Cultural Heritage teams worked closely with descendants of the Verrall family to discuss how their ancestors’ resting places and history could be incorporated into the new park. An in-depth cultural heritage investigation was undertaken, with an advanced Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey used to locate the graves, many of which were unmarked.
Individual grave sites have now been identified, and protection and identification has been introduced to memorialise the family’s legacy and provide heritage context for visitors.
The Verrall Property Hoop Pines
In addition to the work done to identify and preserve the graves, the Verrall family’s history has also been incorporated into the landscaping of Verrall Park. Seedlings from Hoop Pines located near the site of the original family homestead were propagated by existing family members Tom and Chris Verrall, and have been transplanted to offer shade to visitors and a living connection to the past.
About Woodlinks Village
Woodlinks Village is a 78 hectare master planned community located in the suburb of Collingwood Park in Ipswich, Queensland. RPS has been engaged to provide urban planning, cultural heritage and urban design services for Woodlinks Village and has also provided detailed bushfire assessment services for the development.
To date, three stages (approximately 66 homes) of this 14 stage community are complete, with additional stages of residential development currently in progress.
Awards for our work at Verrall Park
RPS and other Woodlinks Village project partners received a Gold Award at Ipswich City Council’s Awards for Excellence in September 2016. Read more about the award-win here.
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