Yvonne Wrigglesworth says public memorials, or requests to honour people, in Bendigo can get out of hand

Councillor Yvonne Wrigglesworth said she has been inundated with requests to honour Bendigonians since she was elected in October 2016.
Councillor Yvonne Wrigglesworth said she has been inundated with requests to honour Bendigonians since she was elected in October 2016.

A Bendigo councillor has suggested honouring Bendigonians with memorials can at times “get out of hand”, as the council looks to create a formal policy on the practice. 

Yvonne Wrigglesworth was one of two councillors to vote against a motion to install a plaque at Rosalind Park for a former Bendigo mayor, the late Daryl McClure OAM, at last week’s council meeting.

The Eppalock Ward councillor said her vote wasn’t in opposition to Mr McClure, who also served as state member for Bendigo between 1973 until 1982, but represented her concerns with how plaques and memorials were applied across the municipality.

“We can at times put people's name's on things willy-nilly,” Cr Wrigglesworth said, pointing to calls to change the name of Margaret Court arena in Melbourne following the tennis star’s controversial views on homosexuality.

“There can be an inconsistency in ways to recognise people in the municipality. It can get out of hand,” she said.

Cr Wrigglesworth did not wish to detail memorials or plaques that she felt were fortuitously installed, but said since her election in October 2016, she’s had countless requests to honour people.

“We need a policy that is strategically applied across the municipality,” she said.

First proposed by former councillor Elise Chapman in mid-2016, the Daryl McClure plaque will be installed on the western pillar of the View Street entrance gates to Rosalind Park.

“If anyone deserves some form of acknowledgement of their contribution to Bendigo it’s this man,” Cr Julie Hoskin said during the council meeting this month.

The City of Greater Bendigo has plaques, memorials and monuments guidelines, but is currently in the midst of creating a policy that will include roadside memorials.

City of Greater Bendigo regional sustainable development manager Trevor Budge said the council received approximately 50 to 100 applications for plaques and memorials each year, some of which are approved and progressed in line with existing guidelines, however others are declined for a variety of reasons.

“The city is currently reviewing and consolidating its signage, plaques and memorials and naming policies, to provide clearer guidance to the community and council,” he said.

Councillor Matt Emond – the other councillor to vote against the Daryl McClure memorial proposal – was contacted for comment.