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Published Thursday 23 July 2020
Tags:General, Media Release

New trees keep memory of those who served

Four replacement trees are now standing tall in Wallan’s Avenue of Honour.

The Avenue itself, made up of Ulmus x Hollandica Purpurascens – or elm – trees, is dedicated to the memory of Wallan soldiers who served during World War 1. The original Avenue was planted in 1920.

The four trees had to be replaced because of their poor health and possible impacts on public safety.

Mitchell Shire Council, in partnership with the Kilmore-Wallan RSL Sub-Branch, planted the four and a half metre tall trees on 20 July – the 104th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles.

During the Battle, more than 5500 Australians became casualties, with almost 2000 killed. It is believed to be the greatest loss by a single division in 24 hours during the then-called Great War.

While Council and the RSL originally intended to hold a small dedication and commemoration event, this was unable to take place because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The original Elm trees were removed on 14 July where they stood along High Street.

The replacement trees were propagated – or cloned - from the budwood of the existing 53 trees in the Avenue to maintain consistency and authenticity of the memorial.

Council’s replacement program ensured the trees were removed and replaced without disturbing the historical significance of the Avenue while reducing the risks of injury or damage to the community.

Over the past 100 years, some of the trees have deteriorated, and Council will continue to monitor the condition of the remaining 49 original trees and replace when appropriate.

Comments from Mayor David Lowe

“It is an honour to be able to replace the four Avenue of Honour trees with those grown from the budwood of those trees still standing strong. We have a proud military history across our shire and the Avenue of Honour is a great connection to families and those who served more than a century ago,” he said.

“A program like this does not happen overnight. We had these trees cloned a number of years ago and now we’re in a position to replant them with little disturbance to those trees standing.”

This page was last updated on 23 July 2020.