Memorial funds cap off years of work

Member for Parkes Mark Coulton (second from left) visited Cobar last Wednesday to officially hand over the funds for a new Miners Memorial to deputy mayor Peter Abbott, museum curator Kay Stingemore and Barry Knight, who has been the driving force behind fundraising efforts to build the memorial. Photo by Klae McGuinness Photography

It’s taken four long years of fundraising and petitioning for funds, but Barry Knight’s hard work to build a Miners Memorial is now about to become a reality.

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton announced funding for the project last week to the tune of $349,777 and called in last Wednesday to make an official presentation to Mr Knight and Cobar Shire Council.

Mr Coulton said while the project had been passed over in the past as not meeting the Building Better Regions funding criteria, a recent change by the government to a focus on smaller community projects meant that the Cobar Miners Memorial now fitted the brief.

He said the level of community support for the project, and its level of community funding, had worked in its favour.

“The concept behind it is double edged,” Mr Coulton said.

“Obviously we are trying to get people to come into town and stay, because tourism is becoming a bigger part of the economy out here, but also to have a memorial and help the next generation understand what a dangerous occupation it was, that’s important.

“There is a lot of sweat and sacrifice goes into what they’ve got,” Mr Coulton said.

Mr Knight, who was thrilled with last week’s announcement, said it’s expected the tender process will take three to four months before a builder is engaged and work commences.