DHA plans ‘appal’ war widow
THE widow of fallen SAS 2nd Lieutenant Brian Jones says she is “appalled” Defence Housing Australia (DHA) may build in parks named for remembrance of her husband and two Vietnam War comrades in Swanbourne’s Seaward Village.
“Three weeks ago, the first thing I knew was when someone told me that Jones Park exists in his name, and the second thing I was told was that they were thinking of developing those other park areas,” Trish Jones (65) told the Western Suburbs Weekly.
DHA’s September plans show a road skirting Jones Park on the east side of the 22ha village in a redevelopment opposed by Swanbourne residents, Nedlands Council and Cottesloe MLA Colin Barnett.
Curtin MHR Julie Bishop called for a review of the plans 10 days ago.
The plans use all of Baines Park, named after Sergeant George 'Chicka' Baines who was killed in Vietnam in 1968, and halves the size of Harris Park, named to honour Corporal Ronald 'Harry' Harris who was killed in the conflict in 1969.
Mrs Jones, a Yawuru Aboriginal woman from Broome, and her son lived in Cottesloe while 2nd Lt Jones was at adjacent SAS’ Campbell Barracks, before he was killed three months after being sent to Vietnam in 1971.
Mrs Jones said a lack of consultation about the village’s redevelopment meant she, her family and the relatives of the other soldiers memorialised by the parks would have to relive the trauma of their losses.
“With one hand they give, and with the other they take away without even talking to us,” she said.
DHA property provisioning general manager John Dietz said new parks would replace the existing parks and memorial names would be kept with the families of the three soldiers to be spoken to “in due course”.
Mr Dietz said DHA was “open” to the new parks having A-Class status, and it was not aware that Ms Bishop had formally requested a review of its proposal.
The three parks are Crown land vested with the City of Nedlands and the WA Planning Commission can decide on their use.