The Soldiers Walk, Queens Domain, Hobart
 

 

Other Tasmanian Avenues - overview

The Avenues Movement

During 1918 and 1919, many communities around Tasmania created "soldiers’ avenues", "avenues of honour" and "memorial avenues" to commemorate the dead and acknowledge the efforts of those who had enlisted for service during the Great War.

Planting a tree for Nurse Burbury at Jericho.
Weekly Courier Sept 12th 1918 p23

It is not clear how the movement began but certainly the State Branch of the RSSILA (Returned Soldiers' and Sailors' Imperial League of Australia) was prominent in Hobart’s avenue first suggesting the planting in 1917. They may also have promoted it generally around the State. The idea for local avenues came from a variety of local organisations: sometimes the local council, more often the local tourism or progress association and often a special local committee. Many were supported and entirely funded by subscription (donations) though in many places local councils provided either trees or timber for tree guards. Most involved placing nameplates on the individual trees or tree guards.

In terms of placement, there is a great variation. Those of the Southern Midlands such as Dysart and Kempton flank the entrances to towns along the main highway from Hobart to Launceston. Most are inside towns again flanking the main road. Others such as Beaconsfield and Scottsdale flank roads to other local towns while Westbury and Ringarooma chose reserves as the position.

From what little is known, locals often cared for the trees for many years. Most had some form of nameplate. The departure of families from districts, the decline of the generation that knew the men and changing priorities spelt the end for many avenues. The very nature of the avenues also worked against them. They were private memorials in a public space and with the creation of monuments as the primary focus for public remembrance, the private family commemorations around trees were often overlooked. In the Avenues of Honour (with trees planted for all those enlisted), returned soldiers would often visit their tree with a sense of pride even when no longer resident in the district. A road trip commonly included a visit to the tree.

The disappearance of nameplates due to age or as souvenirs reduced the trees to anonymous items in the landscape. Over time there was a slow loss of meaning: lack of separate avenue signage, generational change in councils, council amalgamation, road work and the general decline of small towns or the growth of suburbs all helped in the process. However there are still those who remember these trees and can identify for whom they were planted, some are still the focus for very private and poignant acts of commemoration.

The Avenues Project

FOSW has begun a State-wide Avenues Project supported by a grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund. The first stage involves research on these other Avenues through a combination of Council records, contemporary newspapers and magazines as well as Australian War Memorial files.

The second stage involves creating a How To Kit for local communities based on our experiences with the Soldiers Memorial Avenue in Hobart. Our partners in this include the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, which will provide technical and botanical sections for the kit as well as providing tree assessments on identified avenues to help planning for their restoration or replacement.

A reference group will oversee the development of the kit. It includes representatives from:

  • Department of History and Classics, University of Tasmania,
  • Hobart City Council,
  • Southern Midlands Council,
  • Local Government Association of Tasmania,
  • Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and
  • Returned Services League.

In April 2006, the kit will be launched and work will begin with 10 communities around Tasmania on the restoration of their Avenues. The communities will be chosen to ensure:

  • Range of avenue types: memorial and avenues of honour
  • Geographical spread
  • Range of avenue situation: town, country, city, roadside, park, and bushland
  • Range of issues presented: avenue lost, partially in existence, substantially extant
  • Community interest

The selected communities will receive direct presentations, follow-up consultations plus phone and email support. The aim will be to produce restoration plans by November 11th 2006. The original kit will then be reviewed in the light of this practical experience for distribution to other communities.

Tasmanian Avenues

Research is still underway. The following list includes avenues for which there is documentary evidence as well as those identified by local memory. Those for which there are documented descriptions are marked with '*'. The list is not comprehensive.

Apsley *

WWI

Avoca

WWI

Bagdad *

WWI

Barnes Bay (St Peters)

WWI

Beaconsfield *

WWI

Bellerive

WWI

Bellerive Rifle Club *

WWI

Bothwell *

WWI

Breadalbane *

WWI

Bream Creek *

WWI

Broadmarsh (unconfirmed)

WWI

Burnie *

WWI

Bushy Park/Macquarie Plains/Glenora *

WWI

Cressy *

WW1

Dysart *

WWI

Ellendale *

WWI

Franklin Village *

WWI

George Town *

WWI

Glen Dhu *

WWII

Glen Huon *

WWI

Goulds Country *

WWI

Gretna *

WWII

Hamilton *

WWI

Huonville *

Boer/WWII

Irishtown

WW1/2

Jericho *

WWI

Kempton *

WWI

Legerwood *

WW1

Longford *

WWI

Macquarie Plains

WWI

Mangana *

WWI

Melton Mowbray *

WWI

Montague *

WWI

Myalla

WW1

National Pk *

WWI

Nubeena *

WWI

Ouse *

WWI

Port Arthur/Carnarvon *

WWI

Queens Domain *

WWI

Randalls Bay *

WWI

Ringarooma *

WWI

Rokeby *

WWI

Ross

WWI

Scottsdale *

WWI

Snug *

WWII

St Nicholas (Fingal)

WWI

Stanley *

WWI

Taranna *

WWI

Waratah

WW1

Westbury *

WWI

Youngtown *

WW1

If you have information, photos or recollections of any of these Avenues or any others, please contact:

Adrian Howard
Avenues Project Officer
11 Franklin St
West Hobart TAS 7000

or email: info@soldierswalk.org.au

 

 


© Friends of the Soldiers Memorial Avenue 2010.
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Acknowledgements

 

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