LAST Thursday a Civic Reception was held at Ballarat Town Hall to mark the formal handover the Garden of the Grieving Mother to the Council and Citizens of the City of Ballarat.
The Garden of the Grieving Mother is an initiative of the Arch of Victory / Avenue of Honour Committee which is autonomous and incorporated, but also an Advisory Committee of the Council of the City of Ballarat.
The Garden of the Grieving Mother is designed to be a space for contemplation and reflection, honouring and acknowledging the grief and anxiety experienced by those ‘at home’; the mothers, fathers, families and friends left behind, waiting for news of loved ones serving in foreign lands in times of war.
The Garden’s inspiration came from WW1 but it is intended as a tribute to the mothers and families of all Australian service men and women, in all wars.
Of those who went to war, one in five lost their life (759 of the 3801 memorialised in the Avenue of Honour), more than two in five were wounded, and the remaining two in five were affected in other ways.
The bronze, life size statue at the heart of the Garden of the Grieving Mother is the work of prominent Australian sculptor, Peter Corlett OAM who is known for his other commemorative works including ‘Cobbers’ at Fromelles in France and (a duplicate) at the Shrine of Remembrance; ‘Weary Dunlop’ near the Shrine of Remembrance and ‘Simpson and his Donkey’ at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
His Excellency, General the Hon Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret’d) officially opened the Garden, located in the Arch Victory Precinct, on 15th February 2017.
Mr Bruce Price OAM President of the Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee began by giving an overview of the committee, which was formed in 1931 at a meeting called by the then Mayor with Edward Price of E.Lucas & Co. Chairman (Bruce’s grandfather).
“The committee was charged with the responsibility of the care, maintenance, enhancement and protection of the Avenue of Honour and the Arch of Victory,” Mr Price said.
“Major undertakings in the past 25 years have included the Memorial Wall 1993, renovation of the AoV 2011, several years liaising with VicRoads over the unique, outstanding 2015 Avenue of Honour Overpass near Burrumbeet and the ongoing 25 year Restoration of the Avenue.” This year the committee has plans to renovate the Cairn at the end of the Avenue at Weatherboard, launch a book in November by Phil Roberts entitled ‘Avenue of Memories’ to mark the centenary of the Avenue of Honour and be involved with a special Ballarat 2018 Remembrance Day Service at the Arch of Victory on November 11.
“The gifting of the Garden of the Grieving Mother is logical as the balance of the Arch Precinct is maintained and insured by the City, along with the Avenue of Honour and the Caveat on the Title provides long term protection of the site,” Mr Price explained.
“Subsequently at the meeting of Council on 13th December 2017 it was resolved to accept the transfer of the Titles for the site for a cost of $1.
“Our Committee is very proud of this gift to the Citizens of Ballarat, through the City of Ballarat. It cost $920,000, but more importantly provides a very significant National memorial which recognizes the mothers, fathers , wives and families who suffer and sacrifice at home in times of war.”