THE Ballarat community attended a commemorative service on Sunday to mark the 100-year anniversary of the first trees planted along the iconic Ballarat Avenue of Honour. The service also acknowledged the death of Ballarat soldier, George Edward Craven, who was killed in action on the same day (June 4, 1917) and 15 other Ballarat soldiers killed in the week that followed Otto Davies, Herman Bush, James Galbally, Terence Hynes, John Brew, Charles Gitsham, Michael Glynn, William Kennedy, James Lumsden, Walter Pollock, James Richards, Edward Hocking, Raymond Vaughan and brothers James and Samuel Hannah.
Two damaged trees were also replanted along the Avenue following the commemorative service, with a bugle call at 3pm signalling the start of the ceremonial replanting.
There were 505 trees planted at 3pm on June 4, 1917. As it did 100 years ago, the new trees will be planted by small teams, which included local scouts and Ballarat High School students, as well as members of the Rotary Club of Ballarat South.
The two replacement trees are part of an ongoing program to ensure the Avenue of Honour remains a living memorial for years to come.
”Our Avenue of Honour is of such great significance, not just to Ballarat but to Australia, so it is important we acknowledge the centenary of its commencement,” Arch of Victory/
Avenue of Honour Committee spokesman Paul Jenkins said Ballarat’s Avenue of Honour, planted during 1917-19, is a major landmark in western Ballarat that commemorated World War One.
The Avenue at 22 kilometres is reputed to be the longest avenue of this type in the world. By far the most significant contribution to the planting came from the employees of E Lucas and Co known as the ‘Lucas Girls’.
3771 Ballarat servicemen and women who served in World War One are commemorated in order of enlistment by the planting of a tree. The service included a wreath laying in memory of the 16 soldiers that were killed in that one week.