Saturday, April 13, 2024

Warragul park naming to honour local mother

A Warragul park is set to be named in honour of the late Kelly Koochew, a former resident of Baw Baw Baw Shire who left a lasting legacy in the region.

At yesterday’s Council meeting, Baw Baw Shire Councillors endorsed the proposal to name the park at Stoke Street in Warragul in honour of Ms Koochew, following a recommendation by Council’s Place Names Advisory Committee in December last year.

Ms Koochew was a founding member of Women in Gippsland and committee member of the Warragul Farmers Market and Baw Baw Food Movement. Council says she also fostered incredible community connection and organised a public ‘block party’ attended by more than 1,000 people in 2014.

Ms Koochew worked for Kingbuilt Homes and Vin Rowe Farm Machinery before her unexpected passing in 2019. She is survived by her husband, Nick Rowe, and their daughters, Issie, Zoe, and Lola.

Kelly Koochew.

Ms Koochew’s family attended the meeting, where her daughter Isabel spoke about the memories she has spending time in Warragul with her mum and their friends.

“Growing up in Warragul, my sisters and I spent many hours with our mothers’ group friends, playing, eating and – sometimes as babies – sleeping in Warragul’s beautiful parks,” Isabel said.

“I am a bit too young to remember the things my mum did in our community, but my special other mum’s group mum’s Irie, Sallie and Tania always remind me how she always said, “aren’t we so lucky” to live in a district like the Baw Baw Shire.”

The park naming suggestion went through community consultation where 27 people made a submission in favour of the suggestion, with each of these submissions variously describing Ms Koochew as ‘a wonderful contributor to Warragul’, a ‘valued and valuable member of the community’, ‘a vibrant passionate voice’, ‘a wonderful ambassador’ and ‘an inspirational woman’.

Baw Baw Shire Mayor, Annemarie McCabe said she was proud of the sentiment behind this park naming and knew what a huge impact it would have not only on Ms Koochew’s family, but the broader community.

“Ms Koochew epitomised the meaning of community and is incredibly deserving of this honour,” the Mayor said.

“To honour her memory in this way is a wonderful reminder of her contributions and I hope it will inspire all the youngsters that visit the playground to just be as active in their communities when they get older.

“Inspiring future generations is a wonderful legacy to leave.” 

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