Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A is for Avenue of Honour

Entrance to Avenue of Honour, 14 miles long, the Lucas Girls tribute to Ballarat soldiers Image of postcard published by Rose Stereographs from State Library of New South Wales retrieved from http://143.119.202.10/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=69960 9 March 2014
Avenues of Honour planted during and after World War I are an Australian innovation. The avenue at Ballarat was one of the first.

The young women employees of a Ballarat clothing firm, Lucas and Company, planted a tree for every soldier who left Ballarat to serve in the Great War. The avenue runs from the city westerly for 14 miles (over 20 kilometers). The first 505 trees were planted in June 1917.

3,900 trees altogether were planted. The Lucas girls also raised funds for an Arch of Victory at the beginning of the avenue.  The Arch was opened by the Prince of Wales on 2 June 1920.

"AVENUE OF HONOR.". (1917, June 5). Warrnambool Standard(Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 4 Edition: DAILY.. Retrieved January 19, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73930919
The Argus reported the opening of the Arch of Victory: REST FOR THE PRINCE. (1920, June 3). The Argus(Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 7. at http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1707916 

Several years later the Argus wrote a feature article on the avenue:  BALLARAT'S AVENUE OF HONOUR. (1922, April 15). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 5. at http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4665883

The names of the 3,900 men for whom trees were planted can be found through https://bih.federation.edu.au/index.php/Ballarat_Avenue_of_Honour

One of the men was Alan Lawrie who is pictured standing next to his tree.
Mrs C Chisholm (Creator) Negative - Alan Lawrie Standing Next to his Tree in the Avenue of Honour, Ballarat, Victoria, pre 1925. Museum Victoria. Reg. No: MM 001068 retrieved from http://museumvictoria.com.au/collections/items/768849/negative-alan-lawrie-standing-next-to-his-tree-in-the-avenue-of-honour-ballarat-victoria-pre-1925
 Roderick Allen Lawrie enlisted in March 1915 aged 20 years with the permission of his mother.  He was a draper's assistant. (National Archives of Australia Series B2455; LAWRIE Roderick Allan : Service Number - 3169 : Place of Birth - Ballarat VIC : Place of Enlistment - Ballarat VIC : Next of Kin - (Mother) LAWRIE Alice. Digital copy of dossier at http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=7377828)

Associated with the centenary of World War I, there is a project to preserve and restore the avenues across Australia: http://www.avenuesofhonour.org/ 

My husband's grandfather Cecil Young and Cecil's brother Jack have their names listed on a plaque with a small avenue of eucalypts planted in the grounds of the former school of Lower Homebush near Avoca in Victoria.
The Avenue of Honour at the Lower Homebush school

The Homebush Honor Roll at the beginning of the Avenue of Honour at Lower Homebush school

At Avoca nearby, an avenue was planted, but most of the trees have died . There presumably was a list of the men who were commemorated but I don't know where that list is.

One of my favourite avenues is at Bacchus Marsh. It was planted in 1918 and is of Dutch elms. 281 trees were planted simultaneously on the afternoon of 10 August following the blowing of a bugle. The avenue extends for nearly two miles on the road towards Melbourne. In 2004 there were 312 trees and 48 vacant sites. A list of the names of the soldiers can be found at http://www.bacchusmarsh.avenueofhonour.org.au . On 28 May 2010, The Age reported on a plan to build a roundabout in the avenue and opposition to the proposal. For the time being the avenue is  intact. http://www.theage.com.au/national/a-matter-of-honour-20100527-whtb.html The avenue is listed on the Victorian heritage register http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/#detail_places;4957
Avenue of Honour in Bacchus Marsh
Avenue of Honour in Bacchus March By Wcwu (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Avenue_of_Honour_in_Bacchus_Marsh.jpg