Launched at Cottonvale on November 10th 2017, the Soldier Settler Project will become a noted icon on the Granite Belt for all visitors to stop and see.

Much detail has been included in the planning of this project, and each part of the tableau and surrounds is symbolic.  This will be easily seen and understood by any child, hence the inclusion of the Amiens School children in the media launch.  We publicly thank them for their participation – and they have been invited to the official opening in 2019.

Photographically, much thought has been put into how the tableau will look from every angle, and where photographers can stand.  The discerning public will find that every aspect has some particular meaning in the story of the soldier settlers, their methods of farming, and their growing families.

The Lions Park surrounding this major work is being designed to remind people of the life of the settlers in the bush one hundred years ago.  It includes granite rocks to symbolise the difficulty in clearing the land – as are the high, stark trees beside the settler.  Many of the plants will be our own native shrubs, and this will entice the local birds and butterflies as an added bonus for our visitors to the area.

The walking track invites the public to interact and be photographed alongside the horse, the plough, or pose beside the settler’s wife, maybe with their own child.

Why is the settler waving?  These men and their families were welcomed to the district.  After all, they had returned heroes from the Great War.  They were all volunteers.  His stance symbolises waving to a neighbour coming down the road to visit our settler, and now, welcoming visitors to the district to honour and learn about The Settler Story.

Importantly, it symbolises the great community ‘esprit de corps’  learned during their days serving their country – looking after each other and sharing for the common good.  There are many stories of neighbours sharing food or offering to work on a neighbour’s property when the man was unable to work.  Some of the friendships forged during that time have endured three generations, which gives some insight into surviving those first few years when they were carving a farm from the bush.

The donation of the land by Sam Giacca for this project should be applauded for a number of reasons, not least that “he has a good soul” as we were reminded by his cousin.  Sam and his family have always been respected in the Cottonvale community.