Pioneer Wall booted for footy statue

A WALL remembering the contributions of pioneer families of the Derwent Valley has been demolished to make way for the statue of football great Peter Hudson. Onlookers last week were shocked to see the wall being knocked down and questioned what would become of the family plaques.

With the statue due to be officially unveiled at Arthur Square on March 1, site works began in earnest last week and the “Early Settlers” wall was demolished on Wednesday. A council spokesman said the works were classified as “public art” in the Derwent Valley Council Planning Scheme and did not require a development application. The families which had paid for plaques on the wall had not been specifically consulted.

After receiving the New Norfolk News’s request for information, details of the works at Arthur Square were published on the Derwent Valley Council’s Facebook page, noting that the project included “the installation of the Peter Hudson statue in line with the endorsed Urban Precinct Master Plan.”

The Facebook post continued: “The Pioneers Wall has been removed and plaques returned to council. These plaques will be incorporated into a new proposed stage installation as part of the ongoing revitalisation of the New Norfolk Esplanade. The upcoming community project is to be funded from grant funding and is expected to commence before the end of 2021. The reinstallation of the plaques will be in consultation with local historical groups. Community consultation and public advertising of the masterplan was conducted late last year with the master plan being available on council’s website.”

Site works where the Peter Hudson statue will replace the Derwent Valley early settlers wall.

The first public draft of the Urban Precinct Master Plan mentioned the removal of the Early Settlers wall but gave no details or explanation. It also specified the removal of garden beds including those dedicated to the memory of those lost to cancer and suicide.

The final draft of the master plan, approved by the council in December, included the installation of the Peter Hudson Statue on the site of the Early Settlers wall, but preserved the memorial garden beds. The first draft of the plan had sited the statue at the corner of High and Stephen streets.

The tribute wall was an initiative of the late Dorothy Robinson OAM, and was officially opened on Australia Day in 2013. The $11,000 cost was covered by a Federal Government grant. The wall had 104 spaces reserved for the families of early settlers and pioneers.

The unveiling of the Early Settlers wall in 2013.

The first three plaques recorded the contributions of the Cawthorn, Laskey and Miller families. Descendants of those families attended the official opening by the then Federal member for Lyons, Dick Adams. At the time, Mr Adams said New Norfolk was a community that valued its history and it was fitting to have a way to recognise the many pioneering families still living in the area. Mr Adams said he looked forward to seeing more families added to the wall. “Researchers love walls like this,” he said.

Following Mrs Robinson’s death, responsibility for the wall was transferred to the New Norfolk Historical Information Centre. Further plaques were added, recalling the Triffitt, Cranfield and Shone families. Each family was responsible for covering the cost of its plaque, which was understood to be about $300 each. It is understood that the historical centre was not consulted about the demolition.



  1. My question is who decided this particular sporting identity was worthy of having a statue erected out of the many worthy people who have excelled in their chosen sport from this town. We have Olympians for instance how were they overlooked, the mind boggles.

    1. Hmm. Another example of shoddy attitude by the council in not consulting the community. What a waste of money. They are very happy to spend the grants with little foresight. Look at the history of High St – how many plans have we had. Look at esplanade, the river bank, and the dog park (very small, near $12,000) etc.

  2. This should not have happened. The pioneers wall should have stayed where it was. The families must be so disappointed and the fact they will now have to go all the way to the Esplanade is wrong as I’m sure some elderly members of these families would find it hard accessing them. This is so sad. Come on New Norfolk, think of your elderly.

  3. Peter Hudson’s statue is a not appropriate, he left new Norfolk and never returned, put it at north hobart oval

  4. I grew up in New Norfolk, and went to school when Peter Hudson was there. Would’ve been better to put the statue somewhere near the football oval. There are many athletes deserving of a statue and many brave people among our pioneers. What was the criteria to decide to erect this particular statue.

  5. the statues should have been at the football ground if anywhere at all. The pioneers of New Norfolk and the Derwent Valley area did more for the municipality than someone who kicked a football around .

  6. I was born and bred in New Norfolk and followed and admired Peter Hudson’s football career from his early years. He was great .After his AFL career he never returned to New Norfolk,but went to Glenorchy. Surely if a statue’s warranted it should have been at the entrance to Boyer oval. Shame on New Norfolk council for what you have done.

  7. The minority groups are firing up again.

    Please one and all recognise two things.

    Firstly, Arthur Square is large and can accommodate many other memorials, plaques etc, small and large.

    Secondly, as I’ve said before, Peter Hudson isn’t just any old footballer. A thorough perusal of his Football records tells an extraordinary tale.

    Yes he left the Valley.

    But hang on there.

    That is success, go right around the world and sports history. When you’re good (and Huddo was), a champion, you get lured away from your home town more often than not.

    It is a lovely and appropriate home coming for Peter Hudson to be able to see his statue unveiled on Monday.

    I’ll be there.


    John Bridge

    1. To be fair, Burnett St is still usable following the burst water main. Whether anyone feels safe doing so, is another matter.

  8. The wall should be put back in Arthur Square, not down near the river where it might get washed away. Typical useless council.

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