Dr Des­ley re­tires after 40 years in St Ge­orge

Balonne Beacon - - FRONT PAGE -

THE State Govern­ment has con­trib­uted $2000 to­wards a new gran­ite memo­rial at the St Ge­orge Ceme­tery to hon­our Chi­nese shep­herds from Xiamen, for­merly Amoy, who helped to es­tab­lish the Dar­ling Downs.

Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk ap­plauded the St Ge­orge Chi­nese Com­mu­nity Memo­rial Com­mit­tee for tak­ing on the cul­tur­ally and his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant project.

The ceme­tery is the rest­ing place of 300 Chi­nese set­tlers who left their famine-rav­aged vil­lages in the mid-1800s for the prom­ise of gold in New South Wales, only to drift north and work as shep­herds and labour­ers in south­ern Queens­land.

“These hard-work­ing men, who tended more than 450,000 sheep, with tra­di­tional skills in ir­ri­ga­tion and crop pro­duc­tion, de­serve to be prop­erly ac­knowl­edged,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“As will be in­scribed on the new memo­rial, ‘these so­journ­ers never earned enough to re­turn to the fam­i­lies they had left be­hind in their an­ces­tral vil­lages’.”

“It’s a solemn re­minder of the heartache and hard­ships faced by our ear­li­est Chi­nese mi­grants who sowed some of the early seeds for the won­der­fully mul­ti­cul­tural Queens­land we are to­day.

“The orig­i­nal tim­ber head­stones on the men’s graves burned down in the 1970s and a soli­tary mar­ble head­stone was erected in their place.

“Thanks to fundrais­ing by the St Ge­orge Chi­nese Com­mu­nity Memo­rial Com­mit­tee and the sup­port of Balonne Shire Mayor Richard Marsh and Gra­ham Per­rett, a sub­stan­tial memo­rial will re­place it.”

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