The Rathdowney and District 
Memorial Grounds Association and Caravan Park

Rathdowney is the gateway to the breathtaking peaks of Mt Barney and Mt Lindesay. Visit with us and experience a true Aussie country town.

The site of the now Memorial Grounds was originally the railway station.   The railway line operated from 1910 until 1944 when the tracks were taken up and the iron and machinery sold.      In September that year a public meeting was held and it was resolved that the Rathdowney community endeavour to lease the vacant land for sporting, recreational and park facilities and a committee –the Rathdowney Memorial Recreational Ground committee was formed.   Messrs. J. Drynan, K. Drynan, W.J. Downes, S. Brook, C. Robinson, L. Welch, E. Enright , W. Reinke, P. McGovern, H. Bell, J. Dimmick, K. O’Brien, A. P.Ward, A.J.Drynan, F.A. Salisbury and W.K. Burnett attended the meeting with apologies from L.J. Teese, A. Drynan Jnr and W.J. Dimmick.  On the 1st of January 1947 a 30 year lease agreement was signed with the Beaudesert Shire Council with a rental of three pounds and three shillings per year. Andrew Patrick Ward, William James Dimmick and Andrew John Drynan were named as the Trustees of Rathdowney Memorial Grounds and their respective successors executors -administrators.  

Mr Bob Dunsford was the headmaster at the school at this time and he planned the dimensions of the oval based on the oval at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.    It is said to be a perfect oval shape.  By mid May 1945 the site had been levelled, the oval fenced, trees and couch grass planted and on June 08, 1946 (Victory Day) a sports Day was held and two palm trees were planted in memory of our district’s fallen.   The turf wicket (reputed to be the finest in the district) was laid in 1949.    Mr. O.H. McIntyre designed the Memorial Gate and Mr Frank Salisbury and Mr Bill Downes supervised the erection of the gate and the flag pole.  The Memorial Gate was dedicated at a sports day in 1949 and the flag pole was erected.   It is only in recent times during restoration work that the detail and craftsmanship that went into the grounds entrance gate have been discovered and appreciated.   There are no nails and each part fits together like a jig saw puzzle.    Almost rivals the Parthenon and the pyramids!  The first camp-draft was held on the main oval in 1952.   

Since then several buildings including ablution blocks, tennis courts, bowling green, canteen and a drafting oval and cattle yards have been erected.  The caravan park started operating in the early 1960’s. The Ground’s facilities have been used by a number of sporting bodies over the years – cricket, rugby league, tennis, boxing, wood chopping, lawn bowls, soccer, Pottery Club, netball, pony club and camp-drafting.

Today the Memorial Grounds and Caravan Park are managed by a small committee of local people who are interested in preserving the Memorial Grounds that were established after World War 11 in memory of those who gave their lives in times of conflict.    The main objects of the founding members of the committee were to foster sport and recreation in the Rathdowney area as well as honour the memories of our Diggers and this aim continues today.

Much of this work in recent days has been done with the aid of inmates of the Palen Creek Correctional Centre and the people of Rathdowney are greatly indebted them.