Slain nurse's brother frustrated by memorial resistance

Murdered nurses Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans.
Murdered nurses Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans. The Chronicle Archives

ERIC Wilson is at pains to understand the resistance from some quarters in Toowoomba to having a memorial garden established in the Garden City in memory of his slain sister Lorraine and her friend Wendy Evans.

Soon after the inquest into the murders of the two nurses was held in Toowoomba last year, it was mooted that a memorial of some sort would be erected here.

"When we first approached (Toowoomba Regional) Council and asked if it was possible to have a memorial to the girls in Toowoomba, we received very positive feedback," Mr Wilson said.

"We didn't want anything grandiose, just something like a scented garden or tree with a plaque to remember the girls with the intention of letting people know what happened and that it should never happen again.

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"Part of the plaque reads 'The legacy is that fear and intimidation must never again silence the community'.

"A lot of people in Toowoomba have lived with this tragedy for the past 40 years as well, so it would be healing for the people of Toowoomba too."

However, after initially being told a memorial could be placed in Laurel Bank Park, the idea received opposition, which Mr Wilson believes came from some councillors.

"The latest place we've been told the memorial could go is Cottesloe Park," he said.

"I don't know the park and have only seen it on the internet, but the location is unacceptable.

"You can't minimise it by sticking it on the city's outskirts. This tragedy can't be swept under the carpet.

"No one is going to pull up and look at it if it's on the side of the road.

"It's just like back then when no one pulled up to help the girls (when they were seen struggling with men on the Range highway).

"I think it's important Toowoomba takes ownership of this and I'm sure most of Toowoomba would agree that the memorial should be somewhere that people can see it and read the plaque.

"It would be something beautiful out of something horrific."

Mayor Paul Antonio said yesterday that council was working with the families to find a suitable place in Toowoomba for a small memorial to the two girls.

"The memorial will also serve as reminder to this community that we must never be silent about violence.

"These terrible murders are a very dark part of Toowoomba's history, but we have to remember that this was an isolated incident committed by a small group of horrible individuals.

"Once the details of the memorial are finalised council will invite the family to Toowoomba for an unveiling ceremony."

Topics:  lorraine wilson murder murphys creek murders rape toowoomba wendy evans

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