SADDENING: All that’s left of Volkers Park is this sign. Photo: Clair Morton
SADDENING: All that’s left of Volkers Park is this sign. Photo: Clair Morton

Push to give Grafton pioneer new recognition

STANDING lopsided and tired in front of a North St paddock is Grafton's only public ode to Henry Volkers' legacy.

Clarence River Historical Society member Anne Ellem wants to change that.

An important name in Grafton's history, Mr Volkers, or Volckers, is said to have made a significant contribution to the Clarence Valley in 1879, when the seed merchant planted and nurtured hundreds of Jacaranda seeds in the city's streets and avenues.

Essentially, the Jacaranda Festival sprouted from the fruits of his labour.

Mr Volkers was honoured with a park in his memory in recent decades, but it has since been sold as private land and is now used as a horse paddock.

All that remains now is the sign, and Mrs Ellem said she thought it was about time something new was done to honour him, especially considering this year will be the 80th Jacaranda Festival.

"If I was a descendant of Mr Volkers I'd be rather disappointed," she said.

"If it had not been for this gentleman we would not have a festival."

Her suggestion was to rename Jacaranda Park, at the northern end of Prince Street, to Volkers Park.

"There he would get the recognition he justly deserves," she said.

"I just feel that for what he did for Grafton as far as starting the trees is important enough to be remembered."



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