Below is a story with pictures documenting efforts to improve what was in 2008 one of the most barren and unimproved parks in the Cairns Region.

Reys Park in White Rock on Sunday 4th of December 2011

On Sunday the 4th of December 2011 a second tree planting took place at the park.

Early arrival Sarah Gosling borrows a ute to load the trees up and distribute them around the park.

It stopped raining on cue for the planting to begin. As in 2009 there were many locals present, including Ken Reys, Neville Reys and other members of the family.

Thanks to Mission Australia, especially Nicola (below) and Margaret who have done so much in South Cairns.

The picture below shows Tania, Leigh and Thomas, with a tree they are about to give a new home.

The morning was an example of real community participation. Even the State MP Curtis Pitt, our Member for Mulgrave showed up to give us a smile

And to Dig!

There were activities for the little ones

and it was also a great chance for friends to catch up!

During 2010 Council was able to install subsoil drainage at the park. This will mean the park will no longer turn into a ‘swamp’ each wet season and with water now draining away. This also improves safety, as the pathways will not be quite as slippery any more.

Thanks to John from Cairns Bulk Meats, CrimeStoppers, Cairns Regional Council, MP Curtis Pitt and Mission Australia for supporting the event.

Reys Park in White Rock on Sunday 17th of January 2010

A tree planting event was held at Reys Park in White Rock on Sunday 17th of January.

The event was attended by owners of many of the neighbouring houses as well as many members of the Reys family, whom the park was named after and many of whom still reside in the area.

In the below picture, if you are wondering why the ground is white where Mr.Fred Reys is standing, it is salt. This is evidence of the poor quality of the soil and a high water table.

Located in Phoenix Street in the new development known as ‘The Avenue’, Reys Park is a large park, but had precious little shade  so a group of residents got together with Council to remedy the situation! There was a clown to entertain the children.

Events for chldren.

Thanks to John from Cairns Bulk Meats for supporting the event.

The Park had little going for it in the past (scroll down to picture at the very bottom of this page).

Park in White Rock Park named Reys Park in 2009

In 2009 a local White Rock family was honoured, by having a White Rock Park named after them.

The family boasts many talented individuals, including:

Frank Reys, champion jockey, won his first race in 1948. In 1973 he was the first Aboriginal jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, riding Gala Supreme to victory, becoming a legend in the horse racing industry!

Fred Reys, worked a number of jobs in the area, including cane cutting, plant operator and with the Mulgrave Shire in Parks and Gardens. Fred married Mona a Gimuy Yidindji woman, from White Rock.

Mona had worked at the Gordonvale Hospital for just over 17 years as an assistant nurse and Domestic supervisor.

Ken (Fred’s and Mona’s son), was a Senior Public Servant of 24 years, in Canberra and in North Queensland, former General Manager of Bumma Bippera Media and Chairperson of the National Indigenous Media Association. He is currently Deputy Chair of the National Indigenous Television. Ken is an elder of the Gimuy Yidindji Clan of Cairns and gives ‘Welcome to Country’ speeches on behalf of the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land.

Eric Reys worked in many organisations including both community radio stations 98.7FM and 89.1FM.and was a driver for Prime Minister Harold Holt;

Karen Reys is the daughter of yet another of Frank’s brothers, Stephen. She is a talented indigenous artist and her work is recognised throughout Australia. Karen has over twenty years experience working with indigenous programs and organisations. Prior to moving to Perth, Karen lived in White Rock for many years and was an educator of aboriginal art and culture, working in primary schools, private and government organisations, community arts festivals and exhibitions throughout Cairns.

Susan Reys is another daughter of Stephen Reys. Susan grew up in Cairns and is also a very talented painters.

Shelley Reys, is the first indigenous woman to be Deputy Chairperson of the Australia Day Council and is a director of Reconciliation Australia and the Fred Hollows Foundation;

Other family members have also significantly contributed to the region, including Andy Reys (late), a teacher, Lawrence Reys, who owns and operates a Cairns tiling trade business for over 30 years and Lynette (late) a highly tertiary qualified, skilled nurse and Nurse Educator.

As you can see, the Reys clan are real local achievers.


Starting from Scratch in 2008

While door knocking in  2008 for the Council elections, Rob Pyne noticed one of the newest (and worst) parks in the Cairns Region. The below map shows why. It was the middle of a Junuary day that Rob and and David Corcoran came across the park, suffering badly from the heat, with not a tree to provide shade.




  1. Pingback: Reys Park in White Rock Named After Local Family: Plant A Tree and Celebrate Community! « A Force for South Cairns

  2. Pingback: ‘REYS PARK’ NAMED AFTER WHITE ROCK FAMILY « A Force for South Cairns

  3. Robert,
    What an excellent story and well done for putting it together and hopefully many others will read it and know not only the history of the area that they live in but that indigenous people can become achievers in their community and Australia wide. I am sure the park with flourish and the trees grow in strength just like the Reys family which I had and still have the pleasure in knowing as close friends which includes yourself and Curtis Pitt and for the both of you I thank for taking an interest.

    Steve Harris.

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  6. Pingback: ‘REYS PARK’ NAMED AFTER WHITE ROCK FAMILY | Cairns Connect: Caring For Cairns

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