Park honours national hero

June 21, 2024 BY

Legacy: City of Ballarat mayor Cr Des Hudson celebrated the opening of the upgraded Rizal Park with Philippines Consul-General, Maria Lourdes Salcedo, and Dr Jose Rizal's great grandniece Josephine Quintero on Wednesday morning. Photo: SUPPLIED

UPGRADES for Invermay’s Rizal Park were opened this week as part of the City of Ballarat’s Neighbourhood Parks Program.

Completed stage one works for the site, named after Filipino nationalist, writer, educator, and anthropologist Dr Jose Rizal, were unveiled on Wednesday morning to coincide with his birthday, and saw a special guest in attendance.

Consul-General of the Philippines, Maria Lourdes Salcedo, visited the park named after the national hero to the Philippines to celebrate the upgrades.

Upgrades to the site included relocating the existing plaque for safety purposes, while a new connecting path was built alongside the installation of additional seating and refurbishments for the park’s shelter.

The site was established in 1999 and was the first Australian park dedicated to Dr Rizal, who advocated for equal rights Filipino people living under Spanish colonial rule.

Born in 1861, Dr Rizal was executed by the Spanish colonial government at 35 years old after years of writing about the injustices against the Filipino equality and human rights.

His death in 1896 led to the Philippine revolution, resulting in establishment of the First Philippine Republic in 1898.

Ballarat’s Filipino community gathered at the park each year to celebrate Dr Rizal’s birthday.

City of Ballarat mayor Cr Des Hudson said the park re-launch was an acknowledgement of the region’s Filippino community.

“We know from working so closely with our local Filippino community that this park is of genuine significance to them, so we are proud to upgrade it,” he said.

“Having the Consul-General visit Ballarat on this special day for Filippino people is an honour.”

The upgrade initiative is aimed at overhauling between five to 10 reserves each year.

Stage two works for the site are expected to be complete by mid-2025 following community consultation, and are set to include additional seating and tree planting as well as an upgraded play space.