BILL Batt would probably be amused that his name has been perpetuated by the William Batt Memorial Garden.
He was quite comfortable with the fact that in his lifetime it was referred to as "Batt's Folly", for he was never afraid of controversy during his 34 years in local government at Nowra.
The site of this triangular traffic island at the corner of Bridge Road and North Street has been a source of comment for more than 80 years.
It had apparently been a problem in the early 1920s for The Shoalhaven Telegraph in 1923 congratulated Nowra Municipal Council on "at last coming to a decision in regard to the utilisation" of the land.
Council took advantage of the War Trophies Commission's offer of a German gun, captured during World War I, and the site was dedicated as a war memorial.
Following the opening of the new war memorial gates at Nowra Showground in 1931, the gun on the corner fell into disrepair and was moved firstly to the Recreation Ground and then to Kangaroo Valley.
It eventually went into the hands of a collector of wartime memorabilia, but has recently been returned to the district and can now be seen at Walsh Park, Bomaderry.
There was a time when gardens on the site at road level included red flowers that spelt out the name of Nowra.
However when it came to the attention of Bill Batt at the nearby council chambers, it had a broken down fence, was full of weeds, and was often traversed by drinkers leaving the Bridge Hotel.
As well as being town clerk, Batt carried out other duties including those of engineer and health inspector, and he designed the traffic island which was constructed of stone from the Illaroo Road quarry.
It was financed by three of the neighbours, Dr Fred Rodway, Bridge Hotel publican Walter Stewart, and garage proprietor Arthur Barnes, assisted by another publican, Ald. Walter Watson.
Considerations in the design were that it was low enough to see over, and to have round corners so they would not be knocked off by the passing traffic.
Batt's Folly it was nicknamed and this stuck, although there was one diagram produced in Nowra Court during 1960 when it was labelled Garden Island.
However the currently used (more dignified) title of the William Batt Memorial Garden was adopted after debate by Shoalhaven City Council in 1992.
For the record, Bill Batt shifted to Nowra in 1932 to become the Nowra Municipal Council's town clerk, and he continued in that position after the amalgamation of seven local councils to form the Shoalhaven Shire in 1948.
He retired in 1966, a year in which he was named as citizen of the year by the Rotary Club of Nowra.
The citation pointed out that he had acted as auditor for more than 20 community organisations, while having particular interest in the work of the tennis association and the hospital board.
For his community work, Bill Batt was awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours of 1967, and he died in 1973 aged 71 years.