Collective Memory and Memorial in an Urban Public Space: Queens Park and Cunningham’s Knoll, Ipswich. A Field Report.
Roger Ford , Ph D candidate, Griffith University 2021

Behind the stepped pyramid of Cunnungham’s Knoll lies a smaller monument, a hummock of limestone enclosed by a small platform of stone work. At the front of the monument a plaque succinctly commemorates the physical connection of the site to Ipswich’s convict past, noting the contribution of the commandant Patrick Logan and the overseers and convict labourers who worked at the site.

(Image five: photograph R. Ford)

The story behind the creation of the smaller convict hummock monument illustrates the choices made by different sections of Australian society, as to what parts of the nation’s history are remembered and preserved and what alternatively is swept aside and forgotten. On the morning of 1 December 1966, Ipswich residents heard the sound of a council bulldozer ominously clanking towards the limestone hummock adjoining Cunningham’s Knoll. By midday around half of the historic mound had been levelled. Large numbers of angry telephone calls were received by the Ipswich City Council and the Queensland Times newspaper demanding an immediate halt to the destruction of the site. [8]

Responding to the calls, Ipswich Mayor, James Finimore ordered the work to be discontinued. Cooperating with the newly formed Ipswich Historical Society, the limestone mound was restored by a team of council workers. A commemorative plaque was provided by the Ipswich Historical Society and unveiled in 1968 by Sir Raphael Cilento, the then president of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland. [9]

8. ‘When bulldozer wreaked destruction, locals had other plans’, Gladstone Observer, 8 January 2017.

9. ‘Council blunder gave society a purpose more than 50 years ago’, Queensland Times, 2 October 2016.