FOUR replacement trees were planted on Wallan’s Avenue of Honour last week in a joint effort by Kilmore Wallan RSL and Mitchell Shire Council.
The four trees were replaced because of poor health and concerns about their potential impacts on public safety.
The avenue is dedicated to the memory of Wallan soldiers who died during World War One, and was originally planted in 1920.
The replacement trees were propagated from the budwood of the avenue’s existing 53 trees to maintain the consistency and authenticity of the memorial.
The trees were planted by council workers on July 20 – the 104th anniversary of the World War One Battle of Fromelles.
Council and the RSL had intended to host a small dedication and commemoration ceremony to mark the planting of the new trees, but were unable to because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Kilmore Wallan RSL member and former Australian Army major Tony Gill said it was important to maintain the Avenue of Honour as an important historic memorial.
“The Wallan Avenue of Honour trees are now 102 years old … with many showing significant signs of varying decline,” he said.
“The Wallan Avenue of Honour is a living memorial not only to the original 53 veterans but, since the end of World War One, has been adapted to commemorate all veterans and non-service women and men who have served Australia during times of conflict and on peace-keeping operations.
“Just as past generations have maintained the Avenue of Honour with respect, appreciation and gratitude for the custodianship continues to be passed on to following generations.
“On behalf of the community and veterans of Wallan, the Mitchell Shire is commended on its ongoing support and maintenance of our Avenue of Honour to ensure its longevity as a living memorial.”
Mitchell Shire Mayor David Lowe said council would continue to monitor the condition of the remaining 49 original trees and replace them when appropriate
“It is an honour to be able to replace the four Avenue of Honour trees with those grown from the budwood of those trees still standing strong,” he said.
“We have a proud military history across our shire and the Avenue of Honour is a great connection to families and those who served more than a century ago.
“A program like this does not happen overnight. We had these trees cloned a number of years ago and now we’re in a position to replant them with little disturbance to those trees standing.”