Dan Gleeson Memorial Gardens, whilst not run as a botanic garden it is a pleasure garden maintained to the same high standards and featuring beautiful locations for special events.
Originally conceived as a Bicentennial project, Dan Gleeson Gardens is set on about 5 hectares.
The gardens are composed of a wide range of native and exotic trees, shrubs and palms, which are situated amongst large lawn areas and paved pathways.
Townsville, North Queensland. Located in the suburb of Kirwan. The gardens are situated on near the corner of Thuringowa Drive and Hinchinbrook Drive adjacent to council's Civic Centre. Entrances are at Thuringowa Drive, Corveth Street and via the Civic Centre car park. Car Parking is available on the roadside boundaries and in the Civic Centre.
Dan Gleeson Gardens is situated on just over five hectares. The gardens are home to a diverse range of wildlife, in the lakes aquatic life such as long neck turtles, mangrove jack, barramundi, eels, redclaw and prawns are regularly sighted as well as bower birds, barking owls, fig birds, ducks, cormorants, egrets, butterflies and a range of beetles and lizards as well as other fauna are often seen.
After Cyclone Larry devastated the Innisfail region a rare rainforest bird know as the "Wompoo Pigeon" made an appearance in Dan Gleeson Memorial Gardens and now can be regularly seen there. These birds are magnificently coloured with an unmistakable purple chest, yellow and red plumage and pale blue head. Dan Gleeson Memorial Gardens is a splendid mix of beautiful flora and fauna.
A wide range of native and exotic trees, shrubs and palms can be seen in the gardens, they are set amongst large lawn areas. Special areas of interest include the cottage garden, the orchard, rainforest planting and local native area. Dan Gleeson Memorial Gardens is utilised to trial plants new to cultivation or this region and to establish their usefulness locally. So some unusual specimens can be seen throughout the gardens.
The History of Dan Gleeson Memorial Gardens began back in 1984 when construction began as bicentennial project to create the former Thuringowa's City Council's city gardens. The park was officially opened in 1988 by William DeCourcey and was originally named Civic Gardens. In the late 1990s the park was renamed Dan Gleeson Memorial Gardens after Daniel Gleeson, the first mayor of the City of Thuringowa.
Daniel Gleeson was born in November 1914. As a child he attended Black School, Aitkenvale School and Christian Brothers School on Stanton Hill. After he completed school he worked in various trades, after a short time out of town Dan Gleeson returned to Townsville and in 1935 he married Daisy May Campbell.
Dan Gleeson was elected the Chairman of Thuringowa Shire in 1976, he served for many years prior to Thuringowa becoming a city in 1986. Dan Gleeson went on to become the first Mayor of the City of Thuringowa and retired in 1991.
A community minded leader, he donated a portion of his Chairman's stipend to local charitable organisations. Dan Gleeson was instrumental in persuading the community to get behind the establishment of an ambulance centre in Kirwan. The ambulance centre was opened in May 1979. He was also influential in the development of the Thuringowa Maternity Hospital which opened in October 1986.
Dan Gleeson passed away in 1994, in the late 1990s the park was renamed in recognition of this service to the community.
The Thuringowa Soundshell (an amphitheatre style building) on the southern boundary of the gardens is available for hire by the public and community groups. It is used regularly for a variety of community event and celebrations such as carols by candlelight and has a recently renovated cenotaph which is used to hold memorial ceremonies such as Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
The lake area consists of two artificial lakes connected by a small flowing creek and featuring water fountain set amongst beautiful gardens. The lake is a popular component of the park and is often used for wedding ceremonies.
The recently upgraded playground is centred on a medieval/fantasy theme developed by local children that use the library. It has a castle and tower connected by bridges, stepping stones and a meandering pathway. Some of the popular features of the playground include the ability to scale the castle wall or slide down to the dungeon, the catapult swing, Sherwood Forest where kids can play among the trees, The Dragon's Lair where kids can sit on the giant logs and talk to the resident dragon, and the witches den where potions can be developed and cast.
The art work that adorns the Thuringowa Drive entry to the gardens was created by award wining local artist Anneke Silver. She named her work "Tropical Sunhunters" as the art captures the tropical sun at midday on the no shadow days. These particular days occur in Townsville twice a year, 18 November 11.58am and 21 January 12.23pm. On these day a luminously coloured reflection/projection in the shape of a sun, will cast perfectly concentric circles on the pedestals of each of the three sculptures.
Visitor facilities include pergolas, playground, barbeques and public art.