Cascade Gardens in Broadbeach is home to the Kokoda Memorial Walk and the Queensland Korean War Memorial. The walk was created to help visitors appreciate the courage and determination of the men who fought on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea during World War II.
The Rotary Club of Surfers Paradise established Cascade Gardens in the 1950s. Rotary provided extensive rehabilitation, rest and recuperation services to Australian Servicemen during the Vietnam War.
A memorial to these services is located adjacent to the large Rotary Wheel and Kokoda Memorial Walk at the Gardens.
The walk extends from Rotary Park in the centre of Cascade Gardens, and heads south along the pathways towards the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. Sections of the walk pass through tropical rainforest reminiscent of the fetid jungles in which fierce battles were fought on the Kokoda Track.
Along the walk are information plaques, designed by Ross Bastiaan in 1992 – 50 years after the battle. These plaques are similar to those existing along the actual Kokoda Track. They explain the significance of different points along the Kokoda Track. The relief map provides some understanding of the very rugged topography over which the almost 100 kilometre track passes.
Rotary Kokoda Memorial Wall
The Rotary Kokoda Memorial Wall commenced with concept plans drawn up by Council under the guidance of George Friend in 2003.
Through the Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport, a local industrial artist, David Yardley, was commissioned to develop the concept into a complete set of plans. The memorial tells the Kokoda story through sculptured images on the face of a slightly curved wall, in the shape of the topography of the Kokoda Track.
The images are based on famous photos taken by wartime photographers and correspondents, Damien Parer and George Silk, and are imposed onto 7 panels. The top lip design of these panels follows the line of the track over the Owen Stanley Ranges.
The panels tell the story of the WWII Kokoda Campaign from the arrival of the 39th Battalion at Port Moresby and the commencement of the Australian troops' journey to its completion at the village of Kokoda.
The rear of the wall is inscribed in bronze with a dedication to all who fought and supported the campaign. It includes details of the significant points, villages and battles along the Track.
The forecourt of the wall is a rising sun emanating from the base, splaying outwards approximately 20 metres. This is designed to portray the Australian Army hat badge – a rising sun – proudly worn then, and today, by soldiers of the Australian Army.
The dramatic images created by David in his West Burleigh studio are 3-dimensional, initially carved out of plasticine, then moulded and poured in reinforced concrete. They provide a permanent national memorial and tribute to all those who served on the Kokoda Track in 1942.
The memorial complements the 65-year association between Kokoda Barracks, established in November 1942, located in the hinterland of the Gold Coast.
Rotary Kokoda Memorial Wall – dedicated 25 July 2008
This memorial was unveiled on the occasion of the 66th anniversary of the first shots fired by the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion and the Papuan Infantry Battalion, against the leading elements of the 144th Regiment, South Seas Force (Nankai Shitai) of the Imperial Japanese Army in their advance towards Port Moresby. This event signalled the commencement of the famous WWII Kokoda Track Campaign, fought between July and November 1942.
Download the Rotary Kokoda Memorial Wall information booklet(PDF, 3MB)
- Length: 23 metres
- Highest point: 5 metres
- Weight of the largest panel when poured: approximately 5 tonnes
- Construction began in April 2007 and was completed in July 2008.
Funding for the design of the Memorial Wall and sculpting of the panels was raised through the Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport with the generous support, contribution and assistance of numerous sponsors, individual donations, Council and the Queensland State government.
Primary funding agency and sponsors
Council and the Rotary Club of Broadwater Southport under the auspices of Rotary International. Thanks and appreciation to all Australian and Papuan veterans, associations, sponsors, government departments and agencies, Rotarians, the Kombumerri people and residents of the Gold Coast for making this Memorial possible. Mayor Ron Clarke, MBE and Councillor Eddy Sarroff.
You can learn more from the Queensland War Memorial Register.
Queensland Korean War Memorial
The Korean War Memorial is located in the northern section of Cascade Gardens.
The memorial is in a picturesque setting with the design of the Korean Wall, a series of 10 relief murals that represent the different forces – army, navy and air force in addition to the artillery/tanks, nurses and medics including those Missing In Action, Prisoners of War and Veterans.
The commemorative murals include:
- a central figurehead representing the unknown Australian
- veterans of all services
- the Busan War Grave
- the Korean peoples' struggle for freedom
- those Missing In Action
- those who were Prisoners of War
- the Royal Australian Navy and Fleet Air Arm in action
- the Royal Australian Air Force in action over Korea
- the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) during winter operations
- the RAR during summer operations.
The memorial takes the form of a significant remembrance wall, emblazoned with murals depicting the struggle for freedom by United Nations Forces from 1950 to 1953 and to 1957 by the Australian veterans of the navy, army and air force. The impressive mural sculptures include the struggles of the Korean people who gave so much to defend their nation.
The central prominent sculpture of a Korean War era Australian soldier depicts a sentinel at ease overseeing the commemorative site. A dedication plaque rests to the front of the main memorial wall, positioned on a raised and angled desk plinth.
Additional plaques, at the left and right flanks of the memorial wall, are displayed in both English and Korean languages, and explain the involvement of the Australian forces in the Korean War. The memorial wall is flanked by a remembrance garden, with 3 flag poles, flying the Australian, Republic of Korea and United Nations flags.
At the southern end, there is a special tribute to the land forces of the Royal Australian Regiment including original battlefield stones presented by the Gapyeong County, Republic of Korea. On the northern end, a special remembrance area for the Korean veterans and citizens has been constructed. The area is aesthetically enhanced by 2 Korean pagodas and appropriate plantings of flora.
The Queensland Korean War Memorial at Cascade Gardens has been added to the exclusive list of Military Memorials of National Significance. In a first for Queensland, the Broadbeach memorial is now alongside 6 others including Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial in Ballarat; HMAS Sydney II Memorial in Geraldton; and the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney.
City of Gold Coast led the initiative to apply to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the recognition, alongside Korean War Memorial committee chairman Maurie Pears, with the Prime Minister endorsing the declaration in August 2014.
Mayor Tom Tate joined Senator Michael Ronaldson, Veterans' Affairs Minister and Moncrieff MP Steven Ciobo, and Mr Pears at Cascade Gardens for the official declaration on Tuesday 25 August 2015.
“It is an honour for this significant site to now be nationally recognised, standing alongside such respected memorials in Australia,” he said.
“We have set Cascade Gardens aside as a place of reflection, remembrance and peace. It will be a drawcard for residents and visitors now, and in years to come.”
Mr Pears, a driving force behind the construction of the memorial, said it was a great day for 17,500 Korean War veterans.
“We have all joined together with kind hearts and busy hands to build this joint service memorial. This memorial is a monument to those who served. It will never be forgotten,’’ he said.
For more information visit the Queensland Korean War Memorial website.
To help you get there
Here is your walk starting point – Rotary Park in Cascade Gardens on Google maps.