Park’s his­tory back in vogue

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS -

MORE than a cen­tury after Mary Ann Tap­per first stepped foot in the Bi­bra Lake area, her de­scen­dants have re­vealed their de­light over a park be­ing re-named in her hon­our.

The for­mer Cur­rie Park on Progress Drive next to Ad­ven­ture World has been re-named Mary Ann Tap­per Park after the lady who bought the land in the late 1800s.

The City of Cockburn re­named the park after a push by Tap­per fam­ily de­scen­dants, in­clud­ing Mary Ann’s 95-year-old grand­daugh­ter Elsie Gilder­sleeve.

For Ms Gilder­sleeve, whose fa­ther Daniel was Mary Ann’s youngest son, it made a re­cent visit to the park with fam­ily a very emo­tional day.

“It was a case of try­ing to get her there, be­cause she’s so frail. It was her dy­ing wish; she’ll go hap­pily now she’s seen it at last,” her daugh­ter Jil­lian Fitzger­ald said.

“She’s num­ber 12; she’s slowly seen all her broth­ers and sis­ters pass away, so it means a lot to her.”

Ms Fitzger­ald said they had fought long and hard to see the park re-named.

“For a num­ber of years, my fam­ily worked to­gether

to put that memorial there, so you can imag­ine how it hit us when the park said Cur­rie,” she said.

“This was my fam­ily’s prop­erty for many years. They raised 12 chil­dren there and the gov­ern­ment took it over as a green belt and grad­u­ally started sell­ing every­thing off.”

The Tap­pers were one of

Cockburn’s found­ing fam­i­lies and Mary Ann set­tled in Bi­bra Lake in the mid-1800s, with Ms Gilder­sleeve’s fa­ther even­tu­ally build­ing a homestead at the now park site.

A sign was re­cently erected at the park, along with an­other sign with pic­tures and the his­tory of the Tap­per fam­ily.

Elsie Gilder­sleeve, the grand­daugh­ter of Mary Ann Tap­per, at the park named in her grand­mother’s hon­our.

Tap­per fam­ily de­scen­dants at Mary Ann Tap­per Park in Bi­bra Lake.

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