November 2018 marks the centenary of Armistice Day, 1918 – the end of World War 1: the ‘Great War’. To mark it, an Australian contingent will be in France attending ceremonies and contributing to an international conference on avenues of honour. Glenn Williams, David Lawry OAM and I are fortunate to be participants.
This paper gives an overview and a few examples of our globally-significant collection of war memorial Avenues, planted by communities to remember local people who served in conflicts, some who didn’t return. These wars date from the 1890s Boer War, the majority were planted after the First World War, with more after the Second, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and now, Afghanistan. New Zealand is in this too – with a network of ‘Lone Pine’s and avenues, memorials to the ANZAC spirit of camaraderie across oceans.
These are tangible reminders of patriotism and community spirit, poignant places to reflect. I note growing community interest, in lobbying and documenting history, replanting gaps or whole avenues and celebrating them. Networks like TREENET, active on this since 2004 have done lots. The Australian Garden History Society’s online list, includes ‘wins’ – replantings and re-dedications. I touch on the need to conserve and renew memorial plantings; partnerships to seek better recognition (e.g. heritage listings), management (plans, pruning, re-plaquing, propagation & replanting) – following through on TREENET’s campaign since 2004.
Australia, with a 1914 population of just 3 million, had 415,000 citizens mobilised in military service over World War 1’s duration. 60,000 servicemen and women did not return. This equated to one in five of the populace and left lasting scars. Avenues of Honour were a living way of remembering and honouring these lives and sacrifices. We vigorously embraced them at the local community level. As a sample: in 1916 the Anzac troops’ landing at Gallipoli, Turkey led the Victorian Department of Education to encourage all state schools to use Arbor Day that year (and following years, past 1918) to plant native tree species such as gums and wattles to celebrate the Anzac landing. A number of these plantings – some avenues, others groves, groups, scattered and single trees, remain. More research is needed to confirm which survive.
Treenet launched ‘The Avenues of Honour 1915-2015 Project’ in 9/2004 as part of its 5th national Street Tree symposium. Its initiative aims to honour with a tree the memory of every individual who made the supreme sacrifice on behalf of Australia, by documenting, preserving and reinstating the original and establishing new Avenues of Honour by the 2015 Gallipoli Centenary. This project was highly successful.
Treenet combined under the name ‘Avenues of Honour’ Boer War memorial, WW1 and WW2 memorial avenues. This is a different to the approach the Australian Garden History Society (AGHS) has taken, of which more follows.
Treenet’s first survey in 2006 found 567 Avenues of Honour in Australia, (over half, estimated 325, in Victoria) most remaining in some form, some in depleted or poor condition. These are typically on public land, managed by local Councils, some with dedicated local management committees (RHSV, 2/2013). Of those 567, 2 are in the ACT, 67 in NSW, 52 in Queensland 38 in South Australia, 69 in Tasmania, 312 in Victoria and 27 in W.A.
Cockerell (2006?) cited a national survey of 533 councils and many RSL branches. Some 80 avenues were identified from this, a return rate of c.30%. She added in 2007 that 568 avenues were known around Australia.
The Australian Garden History Society was formed in 1980 out of concern for historic gardens from a heritage perspective – seeking better recording, understanding and thus conservation and celebration. Gradually branches established in most states and it has some 1500 members, Australia-wide. AGHS has long had an interest in war memorial avenues and plantings. Articles on commemorative plantings were published in the Society’s journal, Australian Garden History from as early as 1999 (Crone, 18) and 2002 (Ellis, 4).
Entries on ‘Commemorative and Memorial Gardens’(by Allan Correy) and ‘Avenues’ (John Dargavel) were among others in the AGHS’s benchmark 2002 reference, the Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens (OCAG). AGHS member Sarah Wood has mounted and toured her photographic exhibition of Victoria’s Honor Avenues in 2010 at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, in 2012 at Ballarat and more recently, in France.
As a member of AGHS’s national management committee, I became aware of Treenet’s ‘Avenues of Honour’ project in 2010 and convinced the committee that such a project was worth mirroring and expanding. The Society, at my urging and with input from Treenet, branches and individuals around the country, has been compiling lists of avenues, groves and lone pines since 2010. AGHS also publish a national ‘Landscapes at Risk’ list on their website, since 2015 which has included avenues of honour under direct threat (e.g. Ballarat East). Both are available online at www.gardenhistorysociety.org.au/advocacy.
AGHS’s approach differs from Treenet’s, distinguishing between eras and ‘types’ of planting, adding others:
- Avenues of Honour = WW1;
- Memorial Avenues = WW2 (and sometimes subsequent wars);
- Other memorial avenues (other wars, e.g. Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq);
- WW2 and later memorial avenues / plantations / groves / trees;
- Notable avenues – not necessarily honour avenues or war memorials;
- Lone pines; and more latterly;
- Gallipoli oak plantings.
The intention behind such lists and their publication is to:
- inform the community, AGHS members and branches of this array of increasingly historic plantings;
- encourage AGHS branches and the community to take regional action – e.g.: advocate for preparing and implementing plans of management. replanting and (if lost or removed) re-plaquing avenues;
- encourage branch events to promote awareness of and involvement with avenues; and
- advocate for wider (e.g. heritage) recognition, better conservation, management, active replanting, interpretation and celebration of avenues via newsletters, media, events, support and actions.
August 2018 snapshot samples of these lists follows. Plus slightly more fleshed-out analysis of findings as the bulk of this paper – grouped by type (‘Boer War’ memorial plantings; ‘Honour’ and ‘Memorial’ avenues, etc.
In summary, AGHS has identified 5 Boer War memorial avenues (other Boer War memorials include single or group plantings). So far there are 2 Avenues in Queensland, 1 in Tasmania and 1 in Victoria. A recent plantation in Canberra commemorating the Boer War is added. 412 Honour Avenues include 13 in New Zealand (AGHS’s focus is widening to ANZAC-related plantings over the Tasman); 95 Memorial Avenues; 148 WW2 or later war commemorative avenues; 84 Notable avenues (of which 17 are war memorial ones) and 95 Lone Pines (including 13 in New Zealand). AGHS like Treenet has noted a national upsurge in interest in replanting, replaquing, creating new or replacement avenues over 2015’s Centenary of Anzac and various WW1-related centenary dates. A number of Anzac Avenues survive in Victoria, others may or not.
Both Treenet’s and AGHS’s work on avenues have been noticed overseas. Glenn Williams from Treenet and I have both been invited to speak at a conference in France on 12-13 November 2018. An independent organization, “Allées – Avenues / Allées d’Avenir” is organising this 1st international conference, its theme: “Avenues and the Great War”. This will deal with the history of avenues worldwide, their cultural value, community work to maintain (in Australia, also the struggle of Sheffield (UK) residents to save theirs) or create them as living links between people (as the German-Polish trans-border avenue (2012), potential for communities and professionals. Chantal Pradines is the host. He is Ingénieur Centrale, Paris – Cabinet All(i)ée, Expert to the Council of Europe (European Landscape Convention and author of Road Infrastructures : Tree Avenues in the Landscape (published by the Council of Europe). Chantal notes that tree avenues are now protected in France under article L350-3 of its Environmental Code.
What follows are brief overviews to each war that was commemorated with plantings and brief snapshots of a few examples of each ‘type’.
Boer War Memorial plantings
The Boer War was the name given to South African Wars of 1880-81 and 1899-1902 fought between British and descendants of Dutch settlers (Boers). The first conflict in which Australia and New Zealand were involved was the War of 1899-1902. As part of the British Empire, the Australian Colonies offered troops in 1899 and the first Mounted Australian units arrived in South Africa in December 1899. At least 12,000 served in contingents raised by the six colonies or (from 1901) the new Commonwealth. It is believed that at least 600 died in the campaign, nearly half (265) from Victoria (HHS). War memorials to those who served were erected in Australia and New Zealand. A few included plantings, mostly individual or pairs of trees. A very few were avenues (Correy, 1994).
NSW Hunter Valley town West Maitland has one of Australia’s five Boer War memorial avenues. It runs from Elgin Street to Bloomfield Street, in Maitland Park’s Transvaal Avenue and was planted on 31 August 1900, with 107 trees. Each was named to commemorate a general or a battle of the Boer War. 15 of those original 107 survive, in a current avenue of 60 trees (the planting was extended in the Great War (2013: BAOH/CMP). This Boer War (1899-1902) memorial planting was planned by professional horticulturist Joseph Leopold) for the community: 276 Maitland district men served in the war and the area was base for the NSW Lancers’ D troop. An allied victory at Mafeking led to the planting, after a 600 strong crowd and procession along High and Elgin Streets (following a 20,000 strong procession in 6/1900). Originally 107 trees, each named for generals in the war. 15 of the originals remain (tamarisk, peppercorn, swamp mahogany, lemon-scented gum, brush box, Cape chestnut, silky oak, kurrajong, camphor laurels). In 1923 it was partly realigned and replanted to insert a central WW1 monument. Several other trees were planted between 1923 and (eucalyptus, turpentine, brush box and Hill’s figs). 1993 plantings reinforced the park’s entry section (koraki, Corymbia torrelliana) A 2004 CMP led to reinstatement of 25 more, interpretive signage and war memorial restoration and erection of a new memorial wall with names of all Maitland district volunteers (MCC; WKC).
In Tasmania, two years later, the northern town of Beaconsfield planted Soldiers’ Avenue (in 1902), on the Main Road to Beauty Point from Brandy Creek. The trees chosen were hybrid planes (Platanus x hybrida) and oaks, c.50 trees remaining of the 200 originals planted (Howard/FOSMA) (SWalk says WW1).
Honour Avenue plantings
It was the Great War of 1914-1918, which affected the lives of so many people, that fostered an enormous community need to establish lasting memorials to all those who served their countries. This was most apparent in the young Commonwealth countries of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where both monuments of stone and living memorials were patriotically supported by most citizens. Australia in fact has more war memorials than any other country. Architectural or sculptural memorials such as monumental buildings and arches were favoured at first. Some felt that utilitarian memorials, such as war veteran’s homes or hospitals were more appropriate. Many believed that the utilitarian memorial was sacrilegious to the dead and so the idea of a living memorial gained favour. Planting trees was seen as a symbol of hope for the future but above all it was seen as something tangible which ordinary people could become personally involved with.
The idea of planting trees as war memorials appears to have originated in Great Britain in 1918 when the office of the King’s Highway issued a pamphlet titled “Roads of Remembrance as War memorials”. The two objectives of this program were to transform suitable existing highways “to the dignity of Roads of Remembrance adorned with trees” and to organise the building of highways “of exceptional dignity and beauty with open spaces at intervals as special memorials to the Great War”. Interestingly the idea was taken up by Britain’s former colonies but not by Britain itself.
In Canada, memorial avenues were planted in both cities and rural towns but, today, only one at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, planted in 1922, survives intact and continues to be added to. In Australia, between 1917 and 1921, hundreds of avenues of honour were planted to commemorate those who served in the Great War. The first was in Willunga in the Adelaide Hills (1915), then in Stirling, Mount Lofty, (SA: 9/9/1915), followed by Torquay, Greater Geelong (Vic.: 23/6/1916), Ceres (Vic: 30/6/1916) and other Victorian ones, then Laurieton, NSW (19/8/1916) and in Eumundi in Queensland (1917). The most famous avenue of honour was the one planted between 1917 and 1919, at Ballarat (Correy, 1994) stretching 22km to the town of Learmonth.
In 1916 the Anzac troops’ landing at Gallipoli, Turkey led the Victorian Department of Education to encourage all Victorian schools to use Arbor Day that year (and subsequent years, after 1918) to plant native tree species to celebrate the Anzac landing. A number of these early plantings, some of which were avenues, others groves, groups, scattered and single trees, remain.ore research is needed to confirm which survive.
In 1919 a unique Anzac memorial was devised by the Methodist Young Peoples’ department, with the cooperation of Joseph Henry Maiden, NSW Government Botanist. It was arranged to present every Methodist Sunday school in NSW with a tree for planting, to be known as ‘The Victory Tree’, to be planted in church grounds (school, parsonage, church) for annual ceremonies. By 8/1920 200 trees had been distributed to churches throughout NSW including Corowa and Oberon (McDonald McPhee P/L and Burton, 1989).
In New Zealand, ‘Anzac Avenue, Tree Planting Ceremony’ was the headline in the NZ Herald [20 September, 1918, Page 6 Col 1] for the planting of commemorative trees by school children that many still grow on the green space on the corner of Waterloo Quadrant and intersection of Symonds and Anzac Avenue, Central Auckland City. A totara tree growing here looks very sick (December 2015). The Australian, New Zealand and European trees they planted took place in September 1918 supported by the City Council (the Mayor) and Governor General, both of whom were present. The Auckland Star also featured the first post WWI Arbor Day focused on the first WWI commemorative tree planting across Auckland (and New Zealand) about the 12th July 1915. At Titirangi Park 80 trees were planted and a planting took place at the ‘Onehunga Public School’. [Auckland Star, 15 July, 1915.] Trees were given special WWI associated names (Adam, 2015).
Queensland’s oldest honour avenue is on the Sunshine Coast, at Eumundi. It runs over two streets, Memorial Drive (its main street) and Gridley Street. The Eumundi War Memorial was dedicated on 6/10/1917 when 6 Qld. banyan trees (Ficus sp.) were planted by the Eumundi Women’s Recruiting Committee. On 12 October 1918 the same committee organised relatives to plant a further 12 trees; on 23 August 1919 a third planting of 2 trees followed in Gridley Street, making a total of 20 for 20 dead soldiers) 3 figs (Ficus obliqua), 3 camphor laurels, 3 lily pillies (Syzygium paniculatum) and one jacaranda in the roadway on the north, and 2 camphors on the south side outside the School of Arts. Only 5 of those 20 survive, the rest were replaced with 3 camphor laurels, 3 lily pillies, 2 flame trees (Brachychiton acerifolius) and a jacaranda. The first trees were planted between the railway gates and CWA Hall and the first two were replanted when the road was widened (wiki). From 1914-1918, 87 men from Eumundi and its district served in WW1. By the 1970s many of the trees had been replaced and the plaques either lost or deteriorated. In 1976 the 12 remaining plaques were replaced by Maroochy Shire Council and the originals placed in the Eumundi Historical Museum (wiki). The Main Street on which they run was once the main road north. It was renamed Memorial Drive in 1977 (QEPA). The trees are local landmark and focal point for popular markets from 1979 (wiki). A number of the plaques are being masked by large tree roots (QWM531; MA91401; QHR listed p 601122, in 1997). Lining the west side of Gridley Street, within Clem Park are 3 camphor laurels, 2 figs (F.obliqua), 2 flame trees (Brachychiton acerifolius) and 1 lily pilly (QHR; QEPA; wiki). In good condition (Cockerell, 2006).
South Australia’s oldest honour avenues are in the Adelaide Hills, at Willunga and at another at Stirling-Mount Lofty, Mt. Barker Road and Avenue Road. The latter was planted on 9 September 1915 and inspired the Ballarat Avenue (1917-19). Mount Lofty’s comprised 43 oak and 18 birch trees, planted along two roads meeting at a junction. The location was chosen as there was a Boer War memorial to a soldier there. In 1924 a bandstand was erected nearby as a memorial to local soldiers who served in WW1 (BAOH/CMP).
Memorial Avenue plantings
A NSW example is the West Tamworth Avenue of Honour, on the New England Highway and Gipps Street, covering six blocks between the highway and Belmore Street. The avenue is 40’wide framing divided carriage ways, planted either on the 18th (WKC says 15th) of September 1918) using smooth & rough-barked Eucalyptus spp., kurrajongs (Brachychiton populneus), evergreen / holly / holm oaks (Quercus ilex), silky oaks (Grevillea robusta), a few camphor laurels (Cinnamommum camphora), some Norfolk Island hibiscus (Lagunaria patersonia) some pines (P.halepensis?).
To plant it, permission was sought from Council by the West Tamworth Girls’ Club – Women War Workers Association. There was debate about the poor soil in the area and the desirability of its relocation to Belmore Park, which had a better water supply. Gipps Street was decided upon. The first tree was planted by the Mayor, the remainder by the boys’ mothers. On the 20th of September the same year, the West Tamworth Voluntary Workers’ Association was formed to fund-raise for a monument for the avenue. This took some decades to achieve. The Tamworth Jockey Club made a large donation, enabling the buying of another 100 trees. The avenue’s trees vary in age but are in good condition (said Cockerell, 2006). Most were said to be in fairly good condition in 2012 (MA104406; TRSL). The memorial was dedicated on 11 November 1967 (WKC).
Tasmania’s earliest memorial avenue is in Carrick, the Soldiers’ Avenue planted in1946-7, of European elms (Howard/FOSMA). A more-recent example in that island is in the north-west’s Devonport, Victoria Parade and Bluff Road, Bluff Road Coastal Reserve, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Avenue, planted on 4 June 2011. This comprises Norfolk Island pines (Araucaria heterophylla), and was created by the Rotary Club of South Devonport to remember 17 servicemen who died in the Vietnam war 1962-73 (MA94887).
In Western Australia, not the oldest but a notable example is in the Great Southern region at Albany, planted on Mt. Clarence. It is called Apex Drive Honour Avenue – remnant plantings made in 1955-56 by the RSL and Apex Club, replaced the original Middleton Road avenue planted in 1921 (commemorating each of WW1, WW2 & the Korean War). A dramatic triple avenue of NSW swamp mahoganies (Eucalyptus robusta) as commemoration of all the wars in which Australians have fought. Albany with its protected bays and harbours was a major departure point for many AIF soldiers heading for the Middle East) (MA60003). 180 trees survive (2013: BAOH/CMP) WKC notes there are plaques in front of the trees.
Lone Pine plantings
The battle of Lone Pine on 6/8/1915 was one of the bloodiest of the Gallipoli campaign: over 2000 Australians, 2721 New Zealanders and 5-7000 Turks died. In all half a million Turkish, British, French and ANZAC soldiers lost their lives here in 1915. To this day the battles and the fallen are commemorated on ANZAC Day. There are numerous war memorials in Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, where Gallipoli itself has a most impressive cemetery, revered as a sacred shrine by the Turkish people as well as Antipodeans.
Wilcox & Spencer (2007, 3) note that P.halepensis ssp. brutia is native to the Gallipoli peninsula. The southern part of which is covered in forests of this pine and maquis scrub. ‘Plateau 400’ in Gallipoli was the scene of a major diversionary offensive launched by the 1st Australian Infantry Division on 6/8/1915. The Turks had cut down all but one of the pines on the slopes, so the ridge became known as Lone Pine Ridge. In 3 days of fighting 10,000 men were lost. Seven Victoria Crosses were awarded.
Wilcox & Spencer (ibid, 3) explain that after World War 1 Sergeant Keith McDowell brought back a cone from the famous Gallipoli lone pine, from which four trees were later planted at war memorials in Victoria, in 1933-34. These are Turkish red /Calabrian pine (Pinus halepensis ssp. brutia).
But most ANZAC pines planted in Australia and New Zealand to commemorate men lost in the campaign, and in particular Lone Pine Ridge, are Aleppo pines (P.halepensis). This species does not grow naturally in Gallipoli, but is found near the coast in Turkey, Syria, Israel, Greece, Croatia, Italy, France, Spain and North Africa.
The P.halepensis tree’s origin may have been a cone collected by an Australian soldier from Turkish trenches off a tree branch, probably brought in from a woodlot or hedgerow planted on the Gallipoli peninsula. Pine logs and branches were used to shore up and cover Turkish trenches, these coming from various woodlots or hedgerows across the peninsula, or possibly brought in from Constantinople/Istanbul.
The Lone Pine Memorial is the principal Australian memorial on Gallipoli peninsula. It is built directly over the trenches wrested from the Turks at the Battle of Lone Pine, 6-9/8/1915, and takes its name from the tree that stood in the area on 25 April but which was soon shot to pieces. Even so its legacy lives in Australia in various locations. As far as is known, two Australian soldiers souvenired cones that found their way back to Australia:
New South Wales:
Lance Corporal Benjamin Smith (3rd Battalion) sent a cone home to his mother, Mrs McMullen at Inverell, NSW to commemorate his dead brother, Mark, killed in the Battle of Lone Pine. She kept it for 13 years until 1928 before planting the seeds. She grew two seedlings, one she presented to Inverell and the other to the Parks & Gardens section of the Department of the Interior in Canberra. The Inverell tree was planted in Victoria Park, but cut down in 8/2007 when deemed unsafe. A third-generation lone pine was planted in Victoria Park near the site of its predecessor. A first-generation lone pine (offspring from the Lone Pine in Gallipoli) was donated to the Inverell RSL Club by Allan Smith, son of Lance Corporal Benjamin Smith and planted in front of the Club on 5/12/2007 (Slessor, 2007). The Duke of Gloucester planted this second tree at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on 24/10/1934. It is an Aleppo pine and today stands over 20m tall.
Sergeant Keith McDowell souvenired a cone from the original Lone Pine and on returning to Australia gave it to his aunt by marriage, Mrs Emma Gray of Grassmere near Warrnambool. Some 12 years later she planted seeds, four of which grew. One was planted in Wattle Park, Melbourne in 1933, another at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance, another (on 18/6/1933) at the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall at The Sisters, near Terang, the fourth (on 23/1/1934) in Warrnambool Botanic Gardens.
In 1964 Tom Griffiths, President of Warrnambool Legacy, proposed raising seedlings in the jubilee year of Gallipoli from trees throughout Australia in honour of those lost in 1915. Melbourne Legacy propagated and distributed seedlings. A number of cones were taken from the Shrine of Remembrance’s tree and raised (c.150) in the Forest Commission’s nursery at Mt. Macedon. In 1989 more seedlings were collected hoping to raise 1000 trees, Legacy working with the Victorian College of Agriculture and Horticulture in Richmond. Presentations are made to interested bodies by Legacy Clubs.
In 2014 about 60 cones were taken off the Warrnambool Lone pine to propagate more. This tree’s cones are under ongoing attack by corellas, said Warrnambool Botanic Gardens Director, John Sheely. Viable seed will be sent to Legacy in Melbourne to propagate in partnership with Burnley Horticultural College. WBG will keep some for its pinetum (to be planted in 2015 to commemorate 100th anniversary of Gallipoli). That pinetum already contains 2 lone pines propagated from the same tree (EH).
Seeds reputedly from the original Lone Pine were used to grow a pine in the grounds of the eponymous cemetery at Gallipoli, with 1167 burials from all periods of the campaign. The pine itself has been referred to as an Aleppo pine (Wright, 2003) [The original lone pine was identified in 1987 as a stone pine (P.pinea) although further research reveals this to have been a relatively modern replanted tree – i.e. symbolic, cf the actual, in-situ ‘lone pine’ (Stephens, 2013, in press)] but is actually a stone pine (P.pinea), which is not native to Gallipoli but is widely planted around the Aegean region of Turkey. It was planted in the 1920s.
Numerous commemorative pine trees have been planted in Australia and New Zealand supposedly derived from pine cones brought back by soldiers from Gallipoli. These include Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), stone pine (P.pinea), Canary Island pine (P.canariensis), Aleppo pine and Turkish red pine.
In 1990 two trees were taken back to Gallipoli with war veterans who attended the memorial service marking the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Lone Pine. Since the 1980s many trees have been grown by both seed and grafting from material collected off the Canberra Australian War Memorial Lone Pine. These have been disseminated to many organisations including RSL branches and clubs, schools and other interested parties.
Yarralumla Nursery, ACT now propagates a number of seedlings from this tree’s seed, generally available free to RSL branches, schools or organisations wanting them for ceremonial purposes. Seed is available on request.
Gallipoli oak plantings
(Quercus coccifera ssp. calliprinos, aka Kermes oak).
The National Trust of Australia (NTA) (Victoria), identified Gallipoli oak (Quercus coccifera ssp. calliprinos)“as a symbolic link between the Centenary of ANZAC, the people of Turkey and primary school children of Victoria.” Australian General (Sir) John Monash wrote to his wife from Gallipoli in 1915 sending acorns of this holly-like shrub ‘of which these hills are covered’. Captain William Lempriere Winter-Cooke also sent some to his family in 1916 at Murndal, near Hamilton, Victoria. Acorns were planted where Winter-Cooke went to school at Geelong Grammar School. Offspring from both were planted at the Royal Botanic Garden, Melbourne and Shrine of Remembrance.
To bring this link to life the National Trust plans propagating up to 2000 Gallipoli oaks to be planted in Victorian primary school grounds during remembrance ceremonies in 2015-18. The project will include interpretive material to communicate the story of the Gallipoli oaks during World War I, the process of propagation and our enduring relationship with the Turkish people. Over 450 primary schools across Victoria have already signed up.
Any school to register will get a seedling for a commemorative planting, a plaque, support from a RSL sub-branch, a horticultural advice sheet, digital e-book on the Gallipoli Oaks Story and how this tree came to Australia and a digital teacher resource kit for classrooms. More info is online at: http://gallipolioaks.org/
Parsons (2015) notes that Yarralumla Nursery (ACT) are assisting, having found 2 Kermes oaks in Canberra, 1 at Turner Primary School and 1 in ANU campus near the Physics building. She adds that in 2014 450 seedlings had germinated, in 2015 there were about 600 growing. In 11/2013 Governor-General Cosgrove planted a Kermes oak in the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne and on 17/4/2015 the first Gallipoli oak was planted at Hamilton Primary School in Victoria. The NTA (Vic)’s annual report notes that in 2016/17 the 400th Gallipoli oak was delivered as part of the project.
Other War Memorial Avenue plantings
A Victorian example of a War Memorial Avenue is in Gippsland’s Jarrahmond, 5km west of Orbost, along B Road. It was planted in c1955 and is a line (not an avenue) of 18 English oaks (Quercus robur) along one side of the road (linking the farms of two servicemen) and two deteriorating blossom trees: a double pink flowering cherry (Prunus x serrulata ‘Kanzan’) and a flowering peach (P. persica cv.). It was dedicated to the 15 young men who attended Jarrahmond School and later served in the forces in WW2, two of whom died. The planting once comprised inter-planted oaks, flowering peaches and cherries. The trees lead to an old school site. At the end of the vista is a stand of massive mahogany /bangalay trees (Eucalyptus botryoides). In 2001 the local Landcare Group, RSL and East Gippsland Shire Council cleaned up the site and on 16 April 2002, installed an historical marker sign and plaque on the road (MA99181; EGLC). With an ANZAC centenary $5000 grant in 2014 locals were able to plant replacement trees and place plaques along the avenue.
In Tasmania’s Devonport, Victoria Parade and Bluff Road, the Bluff Road Coastal Reserve contains the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Avenue, dedicated on 4th June 2011. Planted with Norfolk Island pines (Araucaria heterophylla), this was created by the Rotary Club of South Devonport to remember 17 servicemen who died in the Vietnam War, from 1962-73 (MA94887).
The National Rose Society of Western Australia claimed that 50 councils in that state had agreed to launch a rose garden in public reserves as a memorial to soldiers lost in two world wars. To date, seven have been identified in the late 1940s- 1950s. One was Collie’s Soldiers’ Memorial Park’s Memorial Rose Garden (1950). Collie Council planted 147 roses as a memorial to all local men who had died in two world wars. This was renewed in 1990 (Reidy, 2016).
And in the impressive young National Arboretum in Canberra, in 2010, 102 Turkish red pines (Pinus brutia) were planted in a new forest to commemorate the 102,814 service personnel who died serving with Australian units in conflicts from 1860 to the present. This forest fits with the arboretum’s concept of ‘100 Forests’.
Other War Memorial (non-avenue) plantings
In Canberra (Yarramundi)’s National Arboretum of Australia, Forest 103 was planted on 26/6/2011 by a delegation from the ACT Committee of the National Boer War Memorial Association, family representatives of those who served in the Boer War, RSL/ex-service organisations, regional mayors and Commonwealth government and Katy Gallagher, ACT Chief Minister. The forest planting is of the South African Clanwilliam cypress (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis), a critically-endangered cedars. These are proving hard to establish, but some are growing strongly (Muldoon, 2014, 187).
A Queensland example is Rockhampton’s World War 2 Memorial Pool and forecourt park, in Lion Creek Road. A 1924 the War Memorial obelisk’s surrounds were landscaped by R. Simmons, the Director of Rockhampton Botanic Gardens. It comprised a semi-circular drive lined both sides with Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariensis) and native cabbage tree palms (Livistona australis) forming a forecourt of lawns with specimen trees – old figs (Ficus sp.) and 2 yellow flamboyant trees (Peltophorum pterocarpum). At the building’s frontage are two Royal palms (Roystonea regia) (QHR; Brouwer et al, 2013, 180).
Particularly notable is the NSW/ACT Remembrance Driveway (1953+ commemorating WW2 & other battles since. This bold vision was of a series of informal plantations (52) of natives & exotics, a total of over 50,000 trees. The intention was to create a continual groves and plantations along the entire highway from Macquarie Place, Alfred/Bridge Street, Sydney to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra (1952/3+). Interest was revived during the ‘Australia Remembers 1945-1995’ celebrations with added Government funding: tree planting on a huge scale is being undertaken (2002/Correy in OCAG). A 1990 realignment left sections in the Southern Highlands off the (current) Freeway/Highway. Many were rebuilt and 20 plantations added in the 1990s with F5 Freeway/Hume Highway realignment/upgrading and renamed after VC medal bearers. The Moss Vale-Sutton Forest and Berrima sections are recommended for local heritage listing on Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan. 5/2015 the Berrima Grove was replanted with 17 new trees donated and planted by regional Garden Clubs replenishing some ailing trees in this grove (Roxby, 2014). An oral history project on the highway is at http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/about/environment/protecting-heritage/oral-history-program/remembrance-driveway.html
Notable Avenues – not war-memorials
In the NSW Blue Mountains town of Faulconbridge’s Jackson Park is the Prime Ministers’ Corridor of Oaks planted in 1933-4 on land donated by Joseph Jackson, NSW MLA for Nepean for 33 years (Minister for Local Government 1932-33). Jackson was the then-owner of Faulconbridge House, the former home of Sir Henry Parkes and an admirer of Parkes as the father of federation. His idea was an oak avenue planted by all Australian Prime Ministers or their nearest surviving relatives, as a national memorial outside Parkes’ home. Plantings commenced in 1934. A plaque was placed under the tree for Edmund Barton, first Prime Minister (12/1900). Oaks on the north row commemorate Keating, Fraser, McMahon, McEwan, Forde, Fadden, Menzies, Page, Lyons, Scullin, Bruce, Hughes and Howard. Those on the south row commemorate Hawke, Whitlam, Gorton, Holt, Chifley, Curtin, Barton, Deakin, Watson, Reid, Fisher and Cook (BMACHO, 2010, 8).
A South Australian example is in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills: the Windsor Avenue Oak trees. These were planted in 1937 to commemorate the coronation of King George VI, having been raised from acorns sent from Windsor Great Park in the United Kingdom. They were planted by school children from Hahndorf Public School under the direction of the teacher Mr H.A. Schwartz on Arbor Day, 19th August 1938.
A notable Tasmanian example is the Pioneer Avenue or the Pioneer Memorial Highway, along the main Midland Highway from Launceston in the north to Hobart, a distance of some 200km. Plantings took place from 1935 (when it was dedicated) until 1939. In all they comprised over 6000 trees, of nearly 100 species, in belts and plantations. Nearly all tree species were exotic. The design is informal, with belts and groves in some places, more formal stretches in others, depending on topography and scenic views available. The planting design was by John Walker, a horticulturist from a family of nurserymen in Tasmania’s north. Recent additions have been planted by and through Landcare groups, using a number of native species (Walker, 2012).
A particularly notable avenue on the highway from Melbourne to Adelaide is in Victoria’s Western District town of Camperdown. It runs along the town’s main, Manifold Street / the Princes Highway, and is called the Finlay Avenue of elms and was planted on 12 July 1876. In all, it comprises 290 European (aka ‘English’) elm trees (Ulmus procera). They run right up to and through the middle of town, forming one of Australia’s most outstanding tree avenues (VHR item H0647). The avenue frames and contains significant public memorials including: Manifold Clock Tower (1896-7); the Empire/Boer War Memorial (1902); J.C. Manifold Monument (1922 – commemorating a prominent local benefactor and politician); the Soldiers’ Memorial (1929); and the Daniel Curdie Memorial (1934) commemorating another pioneering district family.
Perhaps the best-known and most-photographed avenue in Western Australia, Perth’s King’s Park, runs along Fraser Avenue. It is of Queensland lemon-scented gums (Corymbia citriodora) running along a major park entry along the top of the scarp. Despite popular perception, this is not an honour avenue – it was planted 1938 to replace several failed attempts at an avenue of Western Australian red-flowering gums (Corymbia ficifolia) planted from 1897 (the time of Kings Park’s opening). It is remarkably grand and beautiful.
More time than preparation of this paper allows would afford cross-checking of Treenet and AGHS lists to date which may indeed add many more to either or both lists. This work will proceed when time allows.
Australia is particularly rich in war memorial avenues, groves and other plantings. It took to this British idea with abandon, garnering significant community support, which endures today, despite the ravages of time, harsh climate and wavering commitment from more official bodies. Recent decades and particularly the last years running up to centenaries of the beginning and end of World War 1 have seen significant rising interest, funding and renewal (plantings, re-plaquing, re-dedications) of avenues, replacing lost ones, filling gaps and bringing a new generation into awareness of, and commitment to, their conservation. Treenet and the AGHS have played an active part in this, stimulating interest and action. More needs to be done, in terms of research, activism and renewal. Few avenues have heritage protection, which seems a very good idea to seek. But overall, the signs are good – very good. One example: the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) has adopted a policy of nominating all that state’s war memorial avenue plantings for listing on its own Significant Tree Register (which is in fact a national list, online). This is a fine move, and likely to lead to broader statutory heritage listing by local Councils and the State Register, in time. More, please!
I am grateful in particular to David Lawry OAM and Glenn Williams of Treenet, various members of the AGHS national management committee, friends and mentors for information, encouragement and help in compiling and refining AGHS’s list, liaising with Treenet’s parallel list and in preparing this paper.
Adam, John, unpub., 2015, ‘The Last Word’, in Insight. Nine months report for Endangered Gardens. No 8. Australian Edition. December 2014 to August 2015, 7
AOH= Avenues of Honour project website (and map), online at http://www.avenuesofhonour.org
BAOH/CMP = John Wadlsey Planning & Heritage Consultancy, 2013, Conservation Management Plan – Ballarat Arch of Victory and Avenue of Honour, at http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/media/3029010/cmp_ballarat_avenue_of_honour_and_arch_of_victory_final_nov_2014.pdf
BMACHO, ‘Prime Ministers’ Corridor of Oaks’, in Heritage, Newsletter of the Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage Organisations, March-April 2010, 8
Brouwer, Catherine; Hill, Susan; Conrad Gargett Riddell & Nissen Associates, Heritage Gardens of Queensland – a survey of Queensland’s parks, gardens, trees and other designed landscapes, Report for Australian Garden History Society, August 2013
Cockerell, Sarah, University (?of Adelaide/SA) PhD candidate (completing it in 2009), History of Avenues of Honour in Australia (sic)
- , 2006, “Avenues of Honour: Location, Assessment & Management of War Memorial Tree Avenues in Australia”, in Treenet, 2006
- , 2009? ‘5. Australian Memorial Avenues’, (summary of history and state of Australia’s Avenues of Honour), online at http://www.avenuesofhonour.org/
- COGMT = Centenary of Government Memorial Trees, local heritage listing, online at http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=1010677
Correy, Allen, 1994, in http://www.remembrancedriveway.org.au/history/default.asp
Correy, Alan, ‘Commemorative and Memorial Gardens’ entry in Aitken, R. & Looker, M. (ed.s), 2002, The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens, OUP in association with AGHS
Crone, Nina, ‘Of Bedding and Begonias – Ballarat’, in Australian Garden History Society, 1999, Australian Garden History, vo. 11 (1), July-August, 1999, 17-18
Dargavel, John, ‘Avenues’ entry in Aitken, R. & Looker, M., (ed.s), 2002, op.cit
- , 1999. ‘Trees age and memories change in the Avenues of Honour and Remembrance’, In Dargavel, J. and Libbis, B. (ed.s). Australia’s ever-changing forests IV, Proceedings of the 4th conference on Australian forest history, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, The Australian National University
- , 2004, “Memorial Avenues: a Historical Perspective”, in Treenet Proceedings of the 5th National Street Tree Symposium, 2-3/9/2004
Dickens, Jenny, Heritage Victoria – email re HV Preserving War Heritage & Memorabilia Fact Sheets, 28/3/2013, online at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/veterans/factsheets
EGLC = East Gippsland Landcare – entry on Jarrahmond Avenue of Honour / Landcare Group, online at http://eastgippsland.landcarevic.net.au/jarrahmond/projects/jarrahmond-avenue-of-honour
EH = Himmelreich, Everard, ‘Seeds for the Future – Saving Anzac Tree’, in Warrnambool Standard, 21 June 2014, 7
Ellis, Mary, ‘Recognising our significant trees’, “Viewpoint”, in Australian Garden History Society, 2002, Australian Garden History vol.14 (3), November-December 2002, 4
Ensbey, Andrew, 2012, ‘How to implement an Avenue of Honour restoration. The Yeronga Project’, Symposium Proceedings Archive, Treenet Symposium 2012, online at https://www.treenet.org/symposium/proceedings-archive/symposium-2012/?vid=247
FOSMA = Friends of Soldiers’ Memorial Avenues, 2006, The Avenues Kit: a complete guide to restoring Memorial Avenues of Honour in your community, Hobart
Garnaut, Christine, Collins, Julie, Bird, Louise & Anderson, Emily, ‘Cherished sites of remembrance – Soldiers’ memorial gardens’, in Bosman, Caryl and Dedekorkut-Hoews, Aysin (ed’s.), UHPH 2016, Icons: The Making, Meaning and Undoing of Urban Icons and Iconic Cities, Proceedings of 13th Australasian Urban History Planning Conference, 139-154, at https://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/867298/UHPH16-Proceedings-FINAL-29-06-16-1.pdf
Haddow, Janine, 1987, Avenues of Honour in Victoria, Masters in Landscape Architecture thesis, School of Environmental Planning, University of Melbourne, (copy in the Baillieu Library)(now works in DSE Victoria)
Heritage Victoria, Preserving War Heritage & Memorabilia – Avenues of Honour and other commemorative plantings – Preserving war-related heritage, fact sheet, Victorian Department of Planning & Community Development, online at: www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/veterans/factsheets
Howard, Adrian, 2005, “The Soldiers’ Memorial Avenue, Queens Domain (Hobart)”, in Treenet Proceedings of the 6th National Street Tree Symposium, 1-2/9/2005
Howard, Adrian / FOSMA (Friends of the Soldiers Memorial Avenues), The Avenues Kit- the complete guide to restoring Memorial Avenues and Avenues of Honour in your community, FOSMA, 2006/7, reprinted 2010
Howard, Adrian, Kit to restore Memorial Avenues (CD, manual, www links, action plan, template) available from Adrian Howard for $25/CD; ph: 6234 4396 e: [email protected]
JW = Wadsley, John (John Wadsley Planning & Heritage Consultancy), 2012, Conservation Management Plan, Soldiers’ Memorial Avenue, Port Arthur, Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority, at http://portarthur.org.au/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/08/Memorial_Avenue_Conservation_management_Plan1 and http://portarthur.org.au/heritage/soldiers-memorial-avenue-renewal-project/
Kearney, Robert Stanley, OAM, ‘A Call to Action – the Virtual War Memorial and Treenet Partnership’, paper to Treenet 2017 Symposium, Adelaide, online at https://www.treenet.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/TREENET-2017-Symposium-Proceedings_FINAL.pdf
Lawry OAM, David, 2009, ‘Half Time in the Treenet Avenues of Honour 1915-2015 Project’, in Treenet Proceedings of the 10th National Street Tree Symposium, 9/2009
Lawry OAM, David and Peacock, Darren, 2013. ‘The Avenues of Honour 1915-2015 Project, contemporary web-based technologies, Symposium Proceedings Archive, Treenet Symposium, 2013, online at https://www.treenet.org/symposium/proceedings-archive/symposium-2013/?vid=272
MAxxxxx = Monument Australia website entries (dozens) for individual avenues, tree plantings, online at http://monumentaustralia.org.au/search
Mark McWha P/L Landscape Architect, in consultation with Stephen Frank and Simon Barrett, arboricultural consultants, 1997, Ballarat Avenue of Honour, Management Strategy Plan, 2/1997, City of Ballarat
MCC, Maitland City Council, link to online exhibition of Transvaal Avenue’s signage (accessed 30/5/2011) thttp://www.maitland.nsw.gov.au/default.aspx?pageIdentifier=Heritage/WebExhibitions#transvaalave
McDonald McPhee P/L, Craig Burton, 1989, Barrenjoey Peninsula & Pittwater Heritage Study
Musecape P/L, unpub., 2012, Conservation Management Plan for Remembrance Driveway, talk to Sydney & Northern NSW Branch, AGHS, from work for NSW Roads & Maritime Services
NSW State Heritage Inventory, www.heritage.nsw.gov.au / listings/search
OCAG = Aitken, Richard & Looker, Michael (ed’s), The Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens, Oxford University Press in association with the Australian Garden History Society, 2002
Plant, Lyndal & Parke, Neridah, 2007, “Avenues of Honour – Brisbane City Council Progress”, in Treenet Proceedings, 9/2007 on Treenet at https://www.treenet.org/symposium/proceedings-archive/symposium-2007/?vid=66
QHR = Queensland Heritage Register, online at https://environment.ehp.qld.gov.au/heritage-register/
QWM531 = Eumundi WW2 Trees entry, in Queensland War Memorials, online at http://www.qldwarmemorials.com.au/memorial/?id=531
Reidy, Susan, ‘Where should we put the memory? The iconography of commemoration in Australian public parks’, in Bosman, Caryl and Dedekorkut-Hoews, Aysin (ed’s.), UHPH 2016, Icons: The Making, Meaning and Undoing of Urban Icons and Iconic Cities, Proceedings of 13th Australasian Urban Planning History Conference, 401-412, online at https://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/867298/UHPH16-Proceedings-FINAL-29-06-16-1.pdf
Richards, Oline, ‘The Avenues in Peace: Honour avenues of the Great War in Western Australia’, In Bourke, M. and Morris, C. (ed.s), Studies in Australian Garden History, Australian Garden History Society
Roxby, Ian, ‘Making a Difference’, (re Remembrance Driveway at Berrima replanting), in Our Gardens, magazine of the Garden Clubs of Australia, #60, Autumn 2014, 3
Smith, Aaron, ’War Stories: On the Trail of the Lone Pine’, in “Cultural Tracks”, in Australian Geographic 102, April-June 2011, 44-46
Smith, Michael & Associates, 2014, Avenues of Honour – Tree Management Plan, report to Moyne Shire Council, online at file:///C:/Users/stuart1962/Downloads/avenues-of-honour-final-report-web.pdf
SWalk, Soldiers Memorial Avenue, entry at http://www.soldierswalk.org.au/other_overview.html
Taffe, Michael, 2006, “90th Anniversary of Our Avenues of Honour”, in Australian Garden History 17(5), 24
Taffe, Michael, “A new nation, a new landscape: Australia’s premier memorials to those who served in the Great War,” presented at Gardens of a golden era, Australian Garden History Society national conference, 2012, Ballarat, Victoria, published by AGHS, online at www.gardenhistorysociety.org.au
Taffe, Michael (Stuart Read et al), (2015), ‘Anniversary – Keeping Memory Green’ (re Victoria’s Avenues of Honour), in Historic Gardens Review 32, July 2015, (UK), 18-21
Treenet 1– http://www.avenuesofhonour.org/
TRSL = Tamworth RSL Club website, entry on West Tamworth (NSW) Avenue of Honour, online at http://tamworthrslsub.com.au/memorials/gipps_street.html
VHD = Victorian Heritage Database, www.vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au
Walker, Marian, ‘Avenue in Eden – planting paradise in Tasmania’, in Tasmania – 40 Degrees South, Issue 64, Autumn, 2012, 35-39 (about the Pioneer Avenue/Memorial Highway)
wiki = Wikipedia entry for Avenue of Honour – various Australian avenues
Wilcox, Mike and Spencer, David, DATE?, ‘Stand up for the real Anzac Lone Pine of Gallipoli’, Feature: uncommon exotic species, in New Zealand Journal of Forestry, May 2007, 3-8
WKC = Wikipedia, 2013, Commons: Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 in Australia/War Memorials – online at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Wiki_Loves_Monuments_2013_in_Australia/War_Memorials
www.avenuesofhonour.org – Treenet database and project website, research papers online
www.kokodawalkway.com.au (accessed 1/2/11)
www.remembrancedriveway.org.au/history/default.asp (accessed 30/5/2011)
www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roadprojects/projects/south_eastern_region/kings_hwy/braidwood/project_documents.html (King George V Memorial Avenue, Braidwood, NSW).