Author(s): Gareth Winter
DoP 2009, NZ Masterton's Queen Elizabeth Park sits on a 'publick reserve' set aside when the town was first surveyed in 1854. It has hosted the town's stockade, the district's first Pastoral Show and, for a period in the 1920s, the world's fastest time for a mile run on a grass track. Gareth Winter, archivist and garden writer, traces the development of the park and its associated reserves, including the town cemetry, from its days as a rough paddock leased for grazing to today's expansive reserve. Along the way he tells of the man who dug his own grave, of the hunt for the corpse with a missing hand, the town's near-fatal fling with early ballooning and the thousands who gathered in the park for the many civic ceremonies held there. It tells how the park has developed and changed over the years, to meet the changing leisure needs of the community, while retaining the sense of a Victorian park, complete with towering trees.