14 MILES IN LENGTH - 3700 TREES
Commenced June 4th, 1917
Completed June 9th, 1919
A LIVING MONUMENT to all Loyal Citizens
of Ballarat who Volunteered for Active Service
The enclosed list of Three Thousand Seven Hundred names of Soldiers from the Beautiful City of Ballarat, who offered their services to the Empire for Active Service Abroad, and in whose Honour the Employees of E. Lucas and Co. have planted the "Avenue," has been compiled, and a tree planted for each Soldier in the order of their enlistment, as near as it has been possible to obtain this information.
Position of trees in Avenue
Even Numbers right side (North)
Odd Numbers left side (South).
Starting from Golf Links (Arch of Victory)
The above introduction to the Ballarat Avenue of Honour is at the beginning of the book titled:
"Souvenir of the Ballarat Avenue of Honour"
Final Edition, June 1919
The book contains the following details:
No. of Tree
Name of Soldier
Rank and Battalion
Date of Enlistment
Name of Person Planting Tree.
"The Argus" (Melbourne, Vic.) Saturday, 15th April 1922.
BALLARAT's AVENUE OF HONOUR.
Cities and towns, as well as many public and private institutions, have their avenues of honour or plantations of trees to perpetuate the memory of the brave men who fought in the Great War. It would indeed be hard to find a more fitting memorial to the sons of the Empire who so nobly upheld the traditions of the British race, freely giving of their best, even life itself, to secure the freedom so dearly bought in the centuries gone by, and now so dearly prized. Just as man, at the head of the animal kingdom, is the noblest work of God, so the giant trees of the forest represent his noblest work in the plant world. Monuments of bronze or stone, architectural designs, or imposing buildings may serve as memorials in a collective sense ; but the avenue of honour, in which each tree commemorates a soldier, introduces a living, breathing individuality. Thc same wonderful vital forces are inherent in both. Carefull nursing through the stages of babyhood, and loitering through the periods of tender youth are necessary before sturdy, robust maturity is reached, when each may grapple with and endure the stern conditions of life. The heroes of the Great War fought to secure the peace and protection of their fellows, and the trees will in course of time bear the heat and burden of the day, providing restful shade and welcome shelter to man and beast as well as the less robust forms of vegetation.
The first avenue of honour in Victoria, perhaps in the Commonwealth, was planted in Ballarat. During the anxious days of the year 1917, when patriotic men and women throughout the whole of the Empire were engaged in war work, the suggestion was made by Mrs. Thompson to the young women of Messrs. E. Lucas and Co.'s whitework establishment to plant trees in honour of the men of Ballarat who had enlisted in the A.I.F. These girls had already proved their loyalty and patriotism by much strenuous war work. They had sent a Y.M.C.A. worker to the front, supporting him there for over three years, raised £400 for Red Cross, £200 for Comforts Fund, £600 for the Y.M.C.A., £156 and a 70 guinea piano for the Soldiers' Institute.
The scheme for planting the avenue of honour was enthusiastically taken up by the girls and carried to a successful finish. In miling funds for this undertaking, they were warmly supported by the citizens of Ballarat, but the hard work and the organisation were their own special effort. Popular methods of raising funds were adopted, such as exhibitions of work, sale, of necklaces, miniature bricks, buttons, making and dressing thousands of dolls, and a football match between the Khaki Girls of Melbourne and the Lusas Girls. But the general public knew less of the self-sacrifice and untiring personal effort that helped to swell the funds. For a considerable period the girls contributed 2d. in every £1 of their own wages and applied money earned in overtime work for the firm to the furtherance of their great project.
The avenue of honour is l4 miles long, extending from Ballarat to Burrumbeet, and contains 3,912 trees, one tree in honour if each Ballarat soldier in the order of enlistment as near as has been possible to obtain, this information. The entrance to the avenue is marked by an Arch of Victory, which stands at the boundary of Sturt street and Burrumbeet road. The whole of the funds for the arch and avenue, amounting to £4,600 was raised by the united efforts of the girls. About £400 was given by the public, and this sum was applied to a maintenance fund for the up-keep of the avenue, the cost of which has been very heavy. These splendid girls have charged themselves with the responsibility of looking after the trees, and have employed Private Clifford Falla, a returned soldier, who devotes all his time to their care. He is doing his work well ; everything is in splendid order, and the trees are in a healthy condition. Avenues of honour have been planted in many other places, but already some of these are reflecting dishonour upon those responsible for their upkeep. To all such let this wonderful example set by the Lucas girls prove a fresh inspiration.
Every tree is surrounded by a substantial guard, to which is attached a plate bearing the name of the soldier, an asterisk marking each who has made the supreme sacrifice. The Burrumbeet road has become a busy highway, where private and hired cars or vehicles convey interested relatives or friends upon tours of inspection, while fresh wreaths or bunches of flowers mark the trees representing heroes who lie perhaps in nameless graves "Somewhere in France." An official inspection is made at regular intervals, the last on March 27. Surely there is no need to be apprehensive of the loyulty and patriotism of the citizens of Ballarat, where 10 per cent, of the population volunteered for active service and the women-folk gave such eloquent evidence of devotion and support.
The first planting took place on June 3, 1917, and the work was completed on August 16, 1919. The foundation stone of the Arch of Victory was laid by General Sir R. R. Birdwood on February 7, 1920, and the official opening was performed by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, who also laid a commemoration stone on June 3, 1920. The horticulturists of Ballarat advised the girls in the selection of trees, practical gardeners' supervised the planting, which was performed by relatives and friends of the soldiers, mostly the wives, mothers, or sisters, others by leading citizens engaged in public or municipal activities. Mr. J. Williams, of Victoria Park, exercised a general supervision over all arrangements. Carpenters assisted in the erection of tree guards, boy scouts and students of the Ballarat High School rendered valuable assistance in digging holes for trees, district farmers did the carting, and motor-car owners transported workers to their particular trees.
Twenty-three varieties of trees were selected for planting, and these were supplied mainly from the City Council's nurseries. The selection was made after careful consideration and in accordance with experience gained in the plantations of the city streets and parks. Deciduous trees, native to Europe and North America, do particularly well in Ballarat, proving free from insect or fungus disease, hardy, and long-lived. Such important factors naturally carried great weight in selection. A strong argument has been put up in favour of native trees in other place's, being considered more fitting to commemorate Australians. On the other hand, this Avenue contains the trees of Britain and also those typical of the countries where the soldiers spent their period of active service. It is also a pretty conception that the deciduous tree is more in harmony with the seasons and the vicissitudes of life. Leaf fall in autumn presages the gloom of winter, but the swellingof the buds is pregnant with the promise of glorious spring. The sear yellow leaf is a reminder of mortality, but whilst securely sealed for their winter sleep the buds hold the mystery of future life. The varieties of trees in the avenue are:-- American ash, English ash, mountain ash, North American maple, Norway maple, sugar maple, broadleaf maple, English maple, alder trees, scarlet oak, lime trees, silver birch, Ontario poplar, new silver poplar, black Italian poplar, Lombardy poplar, tulip trees, Orienlal plane, purple-leaf elms, Huntingdon elms, Canadian giant elms, Montana Dovei elms, and deciduous cypress.