The mother of a Adele Smith has vowed to fight for retention of a rose tree planted in memory of her daughter at Goulburn Base Hospital.
Mary Dempsey said she was highly disappointed to learn that a rose garden planted outside the hospital's maternity section would be lost as a result of the current $150 million redevelopment. A more than 70-space car park will be built along the Albert Street aspect.
"If they can afford to refurbish the hospital, they can afford to transplant the garden," Mrs Dempsey said.
The Health Service says it will do exactly. However experts doubt the ageing plants will survive the process.
Adele Smith was shot by her ex-partner Paull McLaughlin in May, 1998 while she lay in her hospital bed recovering from a horse riding accident. The 16-year-old died as a result of her wounds.
"Adele did nothing wrong. She just said no (to McLaughlin) and she died a violent death as a result," Mrs Dempsey said.
The manslaughter shocked the community. The 'children's rose' was planted in Adele's memory as part of a garden the Goulburn Rose Regional Society had suggested be established near the maternity unit in about 2006. The 'hybrid tea bush rose rose blooms light pink petals.
Mrs Dempsey said her daughter's name was never placed on the rose due to "the stigma" of what had taken place at the hospital. But she called for Adele to be acknowledged in any new garden, just as it was a memorial across the road at Goulburn High School, which her daughter attended.
"Every rose in that garden is there for a purpose...If they were planted in someone's memory they should put their name on it," she said.
Adele's father, Alan Smith, said he understood the hospital was redeveloping but hoped for a compromise.
"It is very special," he said.
"It would be extremely disappointing to lose it and I'd like to see a garden of some type planted elsewhere (on the site)."
Mr Smith said someone else had suggested the rose be planted for Adele and the family supported this.
The Health District has not consulted specifically with the community about the garden's removal but has about the overall hospital redevelopment.
Past president and member of Goulburn Rose Regional and well known rose judge and breeder, Max Ryan, said he too was disappointed about the move. The now disbanded committee only found out about it second-hand. Up until two years ago members pruned and maintained the garden.
"I'd like to see it stay because it brightens up the area. When it's blooming it's a real picture," he said.
The garden comprises 50 bushes, many planted in honour of people, including a former hospital matron. Mr Ryan recalled that on one occasion an excited new father emerged from the maternity unit while he was in the garden and following a conversation, promptly bought two roses to be planted for his newborn son.
Mr Ryan said while cuttings could be taken of some rose bushes, others, including Adele Smith's, would die if transplanted because they had just one "good, strong tap root." Another committee past president, Alan Strachan, agreed with this view. Mrs Dempsey urged the Health District to act now, in winter, if it was to have any chance of saving the roses.
Mr Strachan's wife, Pat, also a past president, said the move was especially disappointing given the committee's work maintaining the garden over many years.
A Southern NSW Local Health District spokesperson said the project's landscape architect was finalising a location for the new rose garden in conjunction with the user group.
"The project team will be consulting with the Goulburn Rose Society, the wider community and associated families on an optimal location that also complements's the garden's design," she said.
The spokesperson said the Health District was undertaking a similar project with the Yass Hospital redevelopment. A team was working with the Yass Garden Club and the Landcare Community Nursery to preserve historic roses as part of the project. The Club had volunteered to catalogue, photograph, take cuttings and replant roses which had been at the hospital for 70 years.
Meantime, 'enabling works' at Goulburn for the new clinical services building have been completed. These included construction, demolition and relocation of several buildings and services that were in the existing footprint of the new acute building.
Construction is due to start later this year.
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