A number of years ago, I was told of Sister Sumner, a local CWA member and servicewoman, who was so highly regarded that they planted a tree in her honour after her passing.
I searched out the tree and also the plaque with the details, which can be found in the Memorial Park in Gosford, just opposite the Gosford Police Station. I researched Sister Katherine Sumner and was so moved by her story, that every year on ANZAC Day, I place a bunch of flowers, or rosemary, in memory of her at the plaque.
On ANZAC Day this year, I went to the site and was initially excited to see that someone else had also placed flowers there.
Sadly, the plaque has been allowed to deteriorate and ivy has grown around it, and accessing the plaque is not easy through the garden. This memorial is the only memorial in the Memorial Park to commemorate any women. Sister Sumner was so highly regarded in this area that she was recognised in an era when few women were recognised. When the tree was planted, Mrs Paul said: “I am planting this tree to perpetuate the memory of a fine citizen and worker for the common good, one who was cheerful and helpful to all, and who will long be remembered.”
I would hazard a guess that most residents would not even be aware of the Sister Sumner Memorial. What a shame the plaque has not been as maintained as other memorials in the park. It is disappointing that someone so highly regarded, has almost been forgotten. With this year being the Year of Remembering Women from World War I, it would be nice to have had Sister Sumner remembered and her tree and plaque maintained.
Email, Apr 26 Joy Cooper, Green Point