The Significance of the Magnolia Grandiflora at Grace’s Place

Everyone watched as this beautiful tree that Alpine Nursery donated and cared for the last 4 years was placed in her forever spot”.

Grace’s Place

Grace’s Place, a world first trauma and residential recovery centre named in honour of Grace Lynch, the mother of Anita Cobby who was murdered in 1986, held its opening ceremony on 2nd February 2023.

Serving as a retreat and place of healing and restoration through counselling, Grace’s Place is a sanctuary for traumatised children, young adults and other family members, coping with the aftermath of homicide and the grief of losing a loved one, a place where they can be guided to believe in themselves and their future. Children are often the unseen, unheard victims of homicide, who, if not adequately supported, will see their lives changed forever. Experience has shown that children of homicide require stronger and more direct support. Grace’s Place will be that place, a special place where young adults and children can heal and survive.

What started out as an idea, quickly turned into a reality. The Homicide Victims Support Group (HVSG) NSW, which was founded in 1983 by Grace and Garry Lynch, the parents of Anita Cobby, along with Christine and Peter Simpson, the parents of murdered schoolgirl Ebony Simpson, recognised a need to set up an organisation that could offer counselling, support and information to families and friends of homicide victims throughout NSW. Having campaigned relentlessly for the families of victims over the years, their vision became a reality. With the financial support and backing of the NSW Federal and State Governments, Grace’s Place, now also the new headquarters of the HVSG, is officially open.

To be part of this project, having played just a small part, Alpine Nurseries and the team were proud and humble in supporting Grace’s Place by donating a magnificent Magnolia grandiflora ‘Exmouth’. As Magnolia’s were an absolute favourite of Grace Lynch, it was fitting that this tree be planted in her honour, taking pride of place right at the very entrance to what will be a refuge and home to those who need it.

This particular tree (Magnolia grandiflora ‘Exmouth’) was also selected for its beauty, its stature and symbolism of purity, where Grace Lynch and her tireless campaigning, along with so many others will be remembered with every seasonal bloom.

Graces place
Graces place

The construction of Grace’s Place experienced numerous delays including managing the project during the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this situation, the majestic Magnolia remained in the care of Alpine Nurseries for four years. Finally, on the 26th September 2022, Julie Jarman, Sales Manager at Alpine Nurseries and the despatch team got the call that this very significant Magnolia tree was ready for its forever home.

Transporting and protecting such a tree (as with any tree) requires meticulous planning, care and attention. This particular delivery would be an emotional one.

The tree planting ceremony was a small gathering attended by Grace’s Place Patron Kathryn Szyszka (Anita Cobby’s sister) Martha Jabour OAM, family and friends of HVSG, members of the Grace’s Place Committee and Alpine Nurseries.

Following the planting on this memorial tree, construction at Grace’s Place would ramp up considerably – with its completion firmly in sight.

Grace's place group
Graces place
Graces place
On the 2nd February 2023, Grace’s Place was officially opened. Thirty-seven years to the day, on the anniversary of Anita Cobby’s death. Attended by over 1000 guests including friends and family of victims, dignitaries, local officials and the myriad of supporters that contributed to what is now no longer just ‘an idea’ – but Grace’s Place.
Graces place
Graces place