Sister Greta Norman Towner

Welcome to the page dedicated to the story of Sister Greta Norman Towner, and how the ‘Walking with Greta’ sculpture representing her life came to be.

Sculptor Cam Crossley was commissioned in 2022, by the Blackall RSL Sub-Branch President Captain Terri-Ann Eden Jones and Treasurer/Secretary Major Terry Brennan, after receiving a grant from the Queensland Government, the result is the ‘Walking with Greta’ bronze that stands in the Blackall Memorial Park in Central Western Queensland.

Unveiled by Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young AC PSM, the 27th Governor of Queensland on November 10, 2023, the sculpture stands in the same park with a bronze sculpture of Edgar Towner, called, ‘Towner’s Call’, unveiled in 2009 by John Towner, Ronan Robinson and William Eicholtz.

The 2015 video embedded on this page, tells aspects of Greta Towner’s life. This video was integral in developing the town’s collective understanding and remembering of the significance of Greta’s story and the need to share the stories of women in service in general. The timeline link below gives a more detailed outline of Sister Towner’s life. From the sharing of this video in Blackall and beyond, especially with Towner family descendants, the momentum grew to consider her story as being worthy of being told in the form of a bronze statue. This would see her recognised in the same space where ’Towner’s Call’ remembers the service of Edgar Thomas Towner VC MC FRGSA, Greta’s brother.

Together, the brother and sister’s monuments go far beyond the aesthetic, they prompt us to consider the stories they represent, both the individual narratives of Greta and Edgar, and those they represent, the men and women who have and who continue to serve in our Australian Defence Force. In the case of these two artworks, we cannot ignore the profound importance of their inception, through the historical inquiry-based curriculum taught by Avril Fazel at Blackall State School. It instils hope for enduring remembrance of our heritage and for succeeding generations to inquire and re-discover the stories that are waiting to be told.

On a global scale, the representation of women in public sculpture remains starkly disproportionate, with only 2-3% of statues dedicated to women. This disparity does not reflect a lack of deserving stories but rather underscores the need to share and celebrate narratives that have long remained in the shadows.

In Blackall, Western Queensland, we proudly move towards a more equitable representation of men and women in our public monuments. The statues of Jackie Howe, Edgar Towner VC MC FRGSA, Granny Harlow (Midwife), and now, Sister Greta Norman Towner, bear testament to this commitment.