South West Migrant Memorial launched

Achievement: City of Bunbury and South West Migrant Memorial representatives gathered for the installation's official unveiling. Photo: Thomas Munday.
Achievement: City of Bunbury and South West Migrant Memorial representatives gathered for the installation's official unveiling. Photo: Thomas Munday.

Families from across the region have celebrated the official launch of the South West Migrant Memorial. 

Members of the South West Migrant Memorial Committee inc. unveiled the memorial’s design in Bunbury on Wednesday, November 22.

The memorial has been eight years in the making, with still some work to do but once finished it will be displayed at Bunbury’s Queens Gardens in April 2018.

The committee – comprised of descendants of early migrants – came up with the idea to honour the migrants who came from Europe to the South West between the early to mid 20th Century and 1968. 

The memorial includes a tree-like design with a trunk, branches and stainless steel leaves.

The leaves will feature plaques with the names of, and stories about, key individuals and families. 

The group planned for 500 plaques to be fixed onto the tree, with 300 having already been sold. 

In his speech, SW migrant memorial committee member and project manager Charlie Martella said the memorial acknowledged each family’s contributions to the region. 

Mr Martella also discussed the group’s design choices. “We were trying to get something that promoted growth and showed how the migrant fit into the South West,” he said.

Committee chairman Lui Tuia said each migrant helped to grow and enrich the region. 

During the event, the committee also thanked City of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan for his assistance. 

Mr Brennan said the memorial represented the community’s rich history and diversity. 

“We’ve got a wonderful community that really gets things done and, from a city council point of view, our role is to facilitate and get out of the way,” he said. 

“We have a wonderful memorial to early migrants in the SW and to the organising committee’s credit they have done a huge amount of work.” 

Inmates at Bunbury Regional Prison worked on piecing together parts of the memorial. 

Superintendent Kerri Bishop said the prison aimed to support community programs and projects. 

Anyone interested in reserving a plaque for the memorial can contact Mr Tuia on 0428318434 or can find the submission form at http://southwestmigrantmemorial.org/