Legacy of vet­eran park cre­ator could be cru­cial

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

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.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d441488

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.

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