Saturday, September 18, 2021

Breathing new life into living memorial

Victoria’s City of Casey Council will soon start the second phase of a tree renewal project along the Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour to ensure the significant site remains as a living memorial into the future.

Casey is home to seven Avenues of Honour, which were planted to commemorate the contribution and sacrifices made by local volunteers in World War I, as well as stand as living memorials to those who served in the wars that followed.

After it was identified that many of the trees along the Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour, which runs along High Street, Berwick, were in poor or declining condition, Council planned and prepared to undertake a proactive removal and replacement project at the site.

Council undertook Phase 1 of a project to start the replacement of 32 of the trees in late 2019 and following its success, is now ready to start the next phase which will involve the removal and replacement of a further 35 trees along the Avenue.

Works are expected to start in mid-September during the school holidays and will be completed within four weeks.

Council has been proactive in its tree management and has planned for the renewal of the Avenue of Honour by propagating new trees from cuttings from the original Avenue trees back in 2015. These cuttings are now established and have grown to between four and five metres in height, ready to replace the trees in declining condition.

The original trees (Poplar x canadensis) were planted more than 90 years ago, in an initiative led by the Beaconsfield Progress Association to honour the 65 servicemen from Beaconsfield and district who served in World War I. The original trees have performed well in an urban environment however many have or will soon reach the end of their useful life in the urban landscape.

City of Casey Chair of Administrators, Noelene Duff PSM said Council was committed to preserving these living memorials that exist across Casey.

“We know the cultural and historical significance our Avenues of Honour hold for our community and that’s why we’re taking the necessary steps to ensure this memorial is renewed so it can remain in place for the future and continue to honour those who’ve served for our country,” she said.

The Berwick RSL has acknowledged their support for Council for undertaking this project and ensuring the long-term conservation of this memorial.

“We were very pleased that as the trees were nearing the end of their life span, the City of Casey planned to replace the necessary trees with root stock from the existing trees so that the Avenue of Honour will continue for many decades to come. We congratulate the Council on this initiative that has been done with sensitivity, and wholeheartedly support this next tranche of tree replacement,” Berwick RSL President Wayne A’Vard said.

To find out more about the project, call Council on 9705 5200.

The Beaconsfield Progress Association developed a great publication about history of the Beaconsfield Avenue of Honour and the 65 servicemen it is dedicated to, which can be found on their website here.

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