Legacy of veteran park creator could be crucial
ABOUT 120 descendants of Gallipoli veteran and Allen Park creator John Allen Senior have welcomed a Nedlands Council decision that could stop proposed Defence Housing Australia redevelopment of the SAS’s Seaward Village in Swanbourne.
“The development is not very good, and I’m sure my dad would have objected,” Mr Allen’s daughter Margaret Chubb (83) said, when four of five surviving Allen family generations met last week.
After residents’ research indicated a section of Sayer Street to the 22ha village was ungazetted and made part of Allen Park’s A-Class reserve, the council, annoyed by DHA avoiding its planning regime, decided to investigate closing the section and returning it to bush last Tuesday.
“It’s quite uncanny to think that the SAS are here next to the park created by my grandfather as a legacy for all West Australians after Gallipoli,” granddaughter Margaret Anderson said.
“He continued to support the defence of Australia, so I think he would have been opposed to what is going on today, and would feel his hard work and wishes had not been upheld.”
After World War I, Mr Allen Snr spent 14 years as a Nedlands Road Board councillor creating Allen Park, next to where Defence Housing Australia now proposes to use half of Seaward Village for private lots and the remainder for soldiers’ new homes, angering villagers, residents and council.
After securing the land for the park and planting trees, Mr Allen Snr’s work bonded all his family in subsequent years.
“Until my father, John senior’s son, died, he would take my children up to water the trees in the park,” Mrs Anderson said.
Since Campbell Barracks was built in the 1950s, the park has been a buffer between civilian suburbs and the village housing soldiers serving at the strategically important barracks, until the DHA proposal earlier this year.
“And it’s needed when the soldiers need our protection, need security, because they serve us overseas,” granddaughter-in-law June Allen said.
Four generations of the Allen family: Margaret Chubb, Margaret Anderson, Rebecca John and Zemirah John.
John Allen’s great-great grandchildren Zamira John (11) and Josiah John (7) continue their family’s tree-planting legacy with Friends of Allen Park Bushland Group secretary Judy Herring in Allen Park last week.
John ‘Jack’ Allen Snr.