MITCHELL Shire Council and the Wallan Commemorative Committee are searching for family members of the soldiers recognised along the Wallan Avenue of Honour as they prepare to install new name plaques.
Council received a grant through the State Government’s Veterans Affairs Community War Memorials and Avenues of Honour Grant Program to replace damaged name plates along the avenue.
All 53 plaques will be updated to make them more robust, vandal-proof and less susceptible to decay in an effort to preserve the military history of Mitchell Shire.
The new plaques will be made from stainless steel and mounted in a small concrete footing at the base of the trees, one metre from the tree to minimise root damage.
The original plaques will be removed from tree trunks to avoid any future damage to the trees.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson encouraged family members of those memorialised on the plaques to get involved with the project.
“It is fantastic to see these plaques upgraded to reinstate this tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us all in World War One,” she said.
“Hopefully, this project will encourage community interest, pride and reflection of Wallan’s military past. I’d encourage anyone who is related to any of those immortalised in the Avenue of Honour to come forward to be involved.
“We are a community that cares and remembers those who have served and those who are serving in defence of us all.”
Avenue of Honour custodian Tony Gill described the opportunity to contribute to the plaque project and a recent enhancement and update to the Wallan Memorial and Memorial Square as a privilege.
“The addition of new and updated name plaques to each of the 53 Avenue of Honour trees restores the original community intentions, from the first planting in 1918, that it be a living memorial with each tree bearing the name of the 53 veterans from the Wallan community who served in World War One,” he said.
“I thank and commend the Mitchell Shire for their commitment and support in preserving the purpose of the Wallan Memorial, Memorial Square and Avenue of Honour that serves as a place of personal reflection, honour, respect and commemoration of our veterans.
“I take great pride in representing all past, present and future veterans of the Australian Defence Force of the Wallan community in ensuring that those who have served and continue to serve their country, many of whom have paid the ultimate sacrifice, are never forgotten.”
The new plaques are set to be in place for the 103-year anniversary of the original tree planting on August 31.
Council officers thanked the Wallan Commemorative Committee, Kilmore Wallan RSL Sub-Branch and the State Government for assisting with the project.
Any person who has a family member on the avenue is welcome to get involved with the project by visiting http://www.rslvic.com.au/rsl-network/victorian-map-of-all-branches/kilmore/.