Len Woodman at the waterfall he helped build.
Len Woodman at the waterfall he helped build. Mike Richards GLA030818WFAL

How Gladstone wound up 'falling' for Len's idea

THE face of Auckland Hill was an eyesore when Len Woodman came to Gladstone in 1983.

"The hill had been badly damaged over the years by excavation and erosion," he said.

"I had just moved to Gladstone from Cairns and joined the Rotary Club and they were keen to beautify the area.

"We rigged up a bosun's chair and put in plants all over the cliff face but they didn't last long because there was no water."

Mr Woodman made a suggestion that would transform the hillside.

"I'd seen what the waterfall had done for The Strand in Townsville and the Roma St waterfall in Brisbane," he said.

"So I proposed we set up a committee to design one for Auckland Hill."

At the time Mr Woodman was working as an engineer for the council.

"Mayor Col Brown was a member of our club and he was keen for it to go ahead, as was Joe Joseph," he said.

"But money was a bit short in town, so we formed two teams, one to seek donations and the other for the design, with me co-ordinating it all."

The design borrowed the best bits of other waterfalls.

"The top was based on a waterfall in Maryborough," Mr Woodman said.

"The middle from Townsville Strand's and the bottom from Roma St falls."

The design was given the green light and the team set to work.

"The scaffolding was supplied by the powerhouse," Mr Woodman said.

"The pump came from the Collinsville power station, QAL donated the pipework and General Electric put in the coloured lights.

"Moore Engineering loaned us a crane, which lifted the rocks up to the workers.

"They were unemployed people on the Community Development Scheme.

"All up it cost us about $100,000, you couldn't build one that cheap nowadays."

Once everything was ready the Civic Beautification Committee swung into action.

"They went back up in bosun's chairs and planted shrubs and trees," Mr Woodman said.

"We could water them now and that made all the difference.

"The night we turned it on in 1985 was magnificent.

"It's a shame it's not working now especially with all the cruise ship visitors coming to Gladstone."

Gladstone Ports Corporation stated works on the waterfall were scheduled  to commence in July, however cruise ships and the availability of contractors has delayed this work.

It's anticipated to commence the week beginning August 6.

"GPC is committed to restoring this iconic feature and is working with contractors to develop a schedule for the work," GPC CEO Peter O'Sullivan said.

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