Ceremony at Beaconsfield
The Beaconsfield Progress and Tourist Association some time ago had under consideration the question of tree planting. The Hon. G T Collins gave £5 and it was thought that this kindly action had made it possible to carry out the idea of planting an avenue of honour, to be called “Soldiers’ Avenue.” The council has from time to time planted trees from Blythe’s Creek and the south to nearly the centre of town, and at the northern end to Brandy Creek, the old town boundary. The ultimate intention is to continue planting till Beauty Point is reached, and when that is done there will be an avenue of between four and five miles. The trees already planted are planes. The association decided to plant 50 trees from Brandy Creek to Beauty Point, and it was agreed to make the occasion worthy of the object. Amongst those present were Hon. G T Collins, Mrs and Misses Collins, Hon. H Hays, MHA, Mr. M J O’Keefe MHA, the Warden and Mrs Freeland. A very nice compliment was paid to Mr. Collins after lunch at the Club Hotel. The local band, of which Mr. Collins is the patron, played a selection in front of the hotel. Mr. Collins was very pleased.
The procession was then formed at the South African war memorial, the order being – The B B Band, returned soldiers, cadets, State School Band, state and convent school children, Salvation Army Band, motors, and conveyances of all sorts. The sidewalks were crowded, and almost everyone in the town turned out. At the site the scene was very animated. Streamers across the road, and from numerous flagpoles, made a very effective picture.
Mr. W E Kerrison, chairman of the Progress Association, said that, although the association had charge of the proceedings, they could not claim all the credit. Mr. Collins’ generous donation had made it possible to carry out the idea of planting an avenue to the memory of those who had gone to the front from the district. Mr. W R O’Toole had kindly given timber to make 25 guards, and the town ward members had assisted in preparing tree holes, etc. They were greatly indebted to these donors, as well as to the Beaconsfield and Salvation Army bands. Mr. Nightingale, who had arranged for a combined choir, and others who had assisted. The secretary (Mr. W H Allison) had done a great deal of work to make the function a success. He was proud to see the returned soldiers present, and extended a very hearty and cordial welcome to the visitors, especially Mr. Collins, who had done so much for the district. From the spot they were on a view was obtained of the river, down which many steamers had carried many lads on their way to the front. Some had returned wounded and broken, whilst some had paid the supreme sacrifice. To those families whose sons would not return he offered his deepest sympathy. Referring to the trees they had adopted the plane oak as typical of the men who had gone to the front. He then invited the Warden to reside, and the proceedings were opened with the National Anthem.
The Warden congratulated the association for its splendid work. He rather felt that it was a pity the council had not taken up this matter. He was pleased to see the returned soldiers present – men who had been fighting alongside their allies. They had received splendid news lately and they had no doubt as to the result of the war. Whether it ended soon or later we would win. Referring to the war loan, Mr. Freeland said the quota for the Beaconsfield municipality was £9500, a large sum, but he felt sure if they all united they would raise it. The committee had arranged to call on every one to do their part, if only to take up a £10 bond. They must have men to carry on the fight, but they also must have money to pay and support the men. He urged all to assist in raising their quota.
The Beaconsfield Band played a selection in excellent style.
Mr. Collins, who was received with loud applause, wished first to thank the band for their very kind reception on his arrival. It was a credit to the town. He had represented them in the Legislative Council for 24 years, and was proud to be present to do honour to those men who had left to fight for their King and country. They were fighting for the right of small nations to live. They were not fighting for an increase in territory, but so that the world might be a fit place to live in. (Applause.) Their men were fighting alongside of their allies, and they stood on an equality with the best troops in the world. The deeds of the men of Gallipoli should be written in letters of gold. His son had written to him about the opinion the French people had of the Anzacs. When our men were being forced back the French people had to fly for their lives, but when the Australians came these people went back to their homes, confident that they weer safe. Surely those who remained behind would be prepared to do their part. He referred to the splendid work being done by the women of Australia. He instanced the grand work of the Red Cross, OAS, YMCA and other bodies, who were doing their utmost to provide comforts for our men. He was here to do honour to these men, and they could not do too much for them, and on their return they must be provided for. Referring to the war loan, he said they could not carry on the war without money. Those who had money must do as the Americans were doing – give, give, give. He urged them to subscribe to the loan. It was not a gift, but an investment, that would be repaid. Tasmania had challenged West Australia, although the latter had 100,000 more people to draw upon, and he had no doubt they would do their part in helping. He concluded by wishing Beaconsfield every success.
Mr. W Hutchins called for three cheers for Mr., Mrs., and the Misses Collins, and these were lustily given by the great crowd.
The choir sang “O God, Our Help” and then Mr. Hayes spoke, expressing his pleasure at being present at the planting of the trees to perpetuate the memory of the brave men who had gone to the front.
Mr. O’Keefe joined with the other speakers in doing honour to those brave lads who were upholding the traditions of the British race. He was proud to be an Australian – proud to be there to uphold the Union Jack of old England. What they wanted at the present time was unity, and they must have it if they wanted to live. They must have men, but the wealthy must be prepared to make greater sacrifices that they had in the past. They must have money to carry on the war. Flag-waving was no use. They wanted something more than that, and the people with the means must be prepared to do more. He sympathised with those parents who had lost their sons. Not only must the men who had returned be provided for, but the parents who had given their all should not be forgotten.
After a selection by the Salvation Army Band, the Rev J Ha? Rev T Dickson, and Ensign ?? S.A. gave brief addresses, and the National Anthem brought the proceedings to a close. The cadets were in the charge of Lieutenant Lee, area ??/
The trees were planted by mothers, fathers, and friends of the men who had enlisted from the municipality and who will see that the trees are properly cared for. The whole … was a great success, and the crowd was delighted with the prospect of having an avenue of honour right to Beauty Point. No doubt effort will be made to plant another section as soon as possible. The ladies’ committee of the OAS and Prisoner of War Fund arranged afternoon tea… had a cottage and gardens for tea rooms. The secretary, Mrs Lyall, (whose husband is a prisoner of war) was assisted by a band of ladies. The proceeds amounted to about £4.