Duke Street Park & Arthur Speller Memorial Gardens
The Albany Historical Society has had a long-held ambition to beautify and enhance the area surrounding Patrick Taylor Cottage, the oldest dwelling in Western Australia (c1832). The Society was successful in securing funding from the Federal Department of the Environment, Heritage and the Arts in the amount of $121,000 under the Department of the Environment Jobs Fund Grants Programme. This Grant has enabled the Society to see its ambition come to fruition.
Funding was announced on 19 June 2009 by the Federal Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, and Senator for Western Australia, Glenn Sterle. The programme was designed to help stimulate development during the difficult economic climate of 2009, one of the aims being to help with the training and development of job seekers in rural and regional areas of Australia. Senator Sterle congratulated the Society, as owners of the site, and welcomed the funding as an important investment in the Albany community.
The park was opened on 20 November 2009 by the Society’s Patron the Honorable Matthew Benson MLC, representing the Federal Minister for Heritage the Honorable Peter Garrett AM, MP.
In his speech, the Society’s CEO, Andrew Eyden, gave thanks to the landscaper, Richelle Ryan from Creative Landscapes, and her team for the effort that they expended on the project. He also gave special mention to the Society’s late Treasurer, Arthur Speller, for his support of Andrew in helping to ensure that this project was a success. Andrew told the gathering that without Arthur’s support he would have found it very difficult to proceed. Andrew also spoke of the fact that this park gave local residents and visitors the only opportunity to see native endemic plant species in a park environment in Albany.
The new park has seen a large increase in visitor numbers at Patrick Taylor Cottage and it is hoped by the Committee of the Albany Historical Society that this will continue into the future. The entry fees from Patrick Taylor Cottage will be used to fund the upkeep of the Cottage, as well as the park and gardens.