…Sharp agreed to sell the land at £75 per acre; the Committee decided to seek a bank loan; Dr Haley offered to lend money; and collectors were appointed and books issued…
On Saturday 31 August 1918 Charles Verso participated in the planting of an Honour Avenue in Hurst’s Bridge (Hurstbridge) when trees were planted for each soldier from the district who served in the Great War. ‘Captain Bruce and Everard (Mr Everard MLA) spoke. We planted a tree, elm, each for Stanley and Allan and one for Alf King.’ Only three of the elm trees remain today at the lower end of Anzac Avenue.
A meeting was held in the Hurst Bridge Hall on 26 June 1920 to consider the purchase of a recreation ground. A site was subsequently selected ‘in Sharp’s garden’. A public meeting held on 20 July 1920 ‘decided to purchase about 10 acres’ if possible with funds raised by subscription. On 22 July, the Hurst’s Bridge Memorial Park Committee appointed J. Mills and Charles Verso ‘to deal with Sharp’, who agreed to sell the land at £75 per acre. The Committee decided to seek a bank loan. Dr Haley offered to lend money. Collectors were appointed and books issued.
Working bees were arranged to pull out trees and plough the land. Over 30 attended the working bee held on Saturday 19 March 1921. On 12 April 1921, W. Gray, J. Mills and A.J. Verso were appointed Trustees. A Sports Day followed by a Concert and Dance was held on 2 May 1921, (Eight Hour’s Day), to celebrate the opening of the Memorial Park. At the Hurstbridge Hall on 10 August 1921, a machine gun taken at Villers-Bretonneux was unveiled by Colonel Hurry D.S.O. and medals presented to returned diggers from the district. Lantern views of the War were shown.
Further working bees were held at the recreation reserve to burn stumps and grade the reserve. A ‘Wattle Ball’ was held on 26 August and a Sports and Cherry Blossom Fair on 4 and 5 November 1921 to raise funds for the Memorial Park. Charles Verso introduced Mr. Everard MLA who opened the sale. The Panton Hill branch of the R.S.S.I.L.A. held their annual sports in the Memorial Park on Boxing Day.
A meeting held on June 12, 1923 decided to let the Trustees deal with the land transfer and arrange for payment of the mortgage. At this time there was about £250 in hand. Mr. Verso, President of the Committee, chaired a meeting on 25 October 1923 where it was stated that the park consists of 13 acres 34 perches, the price being £75 per acre. The park was procured on 20 September 1920. The chairman ‘also suggested having a proper board at the entrance denoting that it was the memorial park’. The land transfer for the park was signed by the Trustees at Charles Verso’s home on 2 November 1923.
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