A project to upgrade the Wallan Avenue of Honour with new name plaques has been put on hold.

Mitchell Shire Council and the custodians of the Avenue of Honour on High Street in Wallan have acknowledged the 103rd anniversary of the site’s planting.

A joint project between the custodians, council, and the State Government to install brand new name plaques is now on hold due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

A grant was obtained through the government’s Veterans Affairs Community War Memorials and Avenues of Honour Grant Program to renew the plaques by replacng exiting damaged nameplates and ensuring the survival of the plaques into the future.

All 53 of the plaques will be updated to be robust, vandal-proof, and avoid decay over time to ensure the military history of Mitchell Shire is maintained for generations to come.

They 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 the tree trunks to avoid any future damage to the trees.

The project is fully supported after extensive consultation with the Wallan Commemorative Committee, the custodians of the Avenue of Honour.

The plaques were set to be in place for the 103-year anniversary of the original tree planting on August 31, but timelines will be reviewed after restrictions are lifted.

Custodian retired Major Tony Gill has been involved with the Mitchell Shire restoration and enhancement of the Wallan Memorial, Memorial Square and the Avenue of Honour as part of the Wallan Town Heart Enhancement Project.

“The latest sub-project includes the replacement of name plaques for each of the 53 World War One Veterans named on the memorial to each of the Avenue of Honour Trees,” he said.

“This was to coincide with the 103rd anniversary of the original planting of the Avenue of Honour by the community of Wallan on Saturday August 31, 1918.

“It has been a pleasure to have been given the opportunity to be involved in such an important community project that commemorates our veterans.

“On behalf of the veterans and community of Wallan and district, I extend an appreciation and thanks to the Victorian Government and Mitchell Shire for acknowledging our call for the replacement of our Avenue of Honour Tree name plaques. I hope to see this completed soon.”

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