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Leongatha’s Avenue of Honour– growing strong for 100 years

VISITING Leongatha’s Avenue of Honour last Friday that will mark its milestone 100 years in June this year were Vietnam Veterans and Leongatha RSL members Vince Campisi, senior vice president and Colin James, junior vice president.
As explained on one of the boards, The Avenue of Honour has been growing and nurtured by the community in honour of all those from the West Riding of the former Shire of Woorayl who enlisted in the Great War.
It was on Saturday, June 22 1918 that the Leongatha and district community gathered near the former Leongatha Butter Factory to plant an avenue of trees in a single day.
The progress association decided to plant a row of 250 elm and oak trees along Yarragon Road, for a short distance along the Wild Dog Valley Road and Roughead Street.
The trees were provided by the Mossvale nursery and were planted alternately.
The local MP Mr Mackay planted a tree in honour of General Birdwood who led the ANZACS from 1914 until early 1918. Relatives of the young men were asked to care for the tree that bore their soldier’s nameplate. The youth of the area were asked to treat the trees as sacred.
Over the years some of the trees have died or were removed. When trees were removed others were planted elsewhere in their place. There are about 100 trees still thriving in the avenue today, a unique living historic feature in the town. The original nameplates were replaced in the 1930’s and finally removed in 1968 because they had deteriorated and had been damaged by mowers.
In 2015 the names were placed on a special wall. Originally 250 soldiers were honoured. Recent research has uncovered more names and these have been included on the new panels. The names of those from Woorayl Shire who enlisted to serve in the Great War have been shown on marble plaques in the Leongatha Memorial Hall since 1926. See more Anzac Day coverage in The Star next Tuesday.

100 year milestone: Colin James’ relative Colin Arrott Watt fought in WWI and is represented on one of the honour boards at the Leongatha Recreation Reserve.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=24716

Posted by on Apr 17 2018. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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