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by Rick Geary


On the 21st July 2000, the Government of the Australian Capital Territory decided to honour several Australian sportsmen and sportswomen with the naming of streets in the Division of Gordon, A.C.T. Included amongst the new street names was Van Praag Place (formerly Van Praag Circuit). This honour was well deserved, given that Lionel had been the inaugural World Speedway Champion in 1936.

During an update to Lionel's biography page, it occurred to your webmaster that the page should include a photo of the street sign from Van Praag Place. It didn't take long to deduce that the best person to obtain such a photograph would be former Adastra Hudson pilot, Rick Geary, who currently lives in the A.C.T. But did Rick live anywhere near Van Praag Place? A quick email to Rick brought the following response:

"I live about five minutes walk from it and I often say G'day Lionel to him when I go for a walk. The dead are only really gone when they're forgotten. I may well be the only local who knows to whom the sign refers. Certainly, I'd be the only one who worked and flew with him".

This latter realisation further inspired Rick to print Lionel's biography page from our website and place a copy in every letterbox in Van Praag Place. Good one Rick!

Rick has supplied the following photos of Lionel's street (all are linked to larger versions).

"I had a great deal of trouble taking the pictures because the sun is so low to the north at this time of the year (July), so I decided to send these for the time being. I'll try again in summer. Van Praag Place is only about about 18 months old and because of this, many of the gardens are still being established. To tell it like it is, Van Praag Place is high upon a hill and populated with very, very nice houses, mostly two storey with magnificent views of the countryside. It's very 'Australian' in outlook. The surrounding streets are named after sportsmen and sportswomen. Personally, I think it's a most appropriate tribute".

Click for a larger image
This view shows what I meant about 'Australian' in outlook. I'm sure when the contractors are all finished, the sign will be made erect.
Click for a larger image
The start of Van Praag Place.
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View from the top looking North towards Canberra over a local lake on a frosty morning.
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I call this Lionel's Tree. It's right at the top.

All photos were taken in July 2004 by Rick Geary.