Ballarat’s World War I servicemen and women will forever be honoured in Lucas.
In commemoration of the centenary of World War I, Victoria’s heroes are being honoured through the ANZAC Commemorative Naming Project – a state government initiative which sees roads, geographical features and localities named in honour of the men and women who have served principally in World War I or made a notable contribution toward the ANZAC spirit.
The City of Ballarat is one of 56 councils to have taken part in this project since 2014.
The project, a collaboration between the two tiers of government, has provided an enduring way to pay tribute to veterans and veteran families by acknowledging their contributions.
The project now has thousands of names researched and banked by local councils for future use in the naming of roads, features and localities, with all recognised servicemen and women having a connection to the local municipality where they are acknowledged.
The City of Ballarat partnered with Ballarat-based land developers Integra on this projectBallarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh it was important to pay tribute to the brave young men and women who have served in defence of our country, and of the ideals we hold most dearly.
“We’re seeing new streets across Lucas named in honour of our servicemen and women – this is our city’s way of acknowledging the great debt of gratitude we owe to so many Australians,” Cr McIntosh said.
At this stage 94 specific streets in Lucas have been named or are in pre-construction stage in honour of our WWI soldiers.
Lieutenant Merz and Snr Seaman Messenger have both been honoured as part of the project.
Lieutenant Merz Street
MERZ Lt. George Pinnock from Raglan Street in Ballarat had studied at Melbourne University and had become a medical practitioner by the outbreak of the war.
He left Australia in late November 1914 as part of the Naval and Military Expeditionary Force sent to neutralise a German radio base at Rabaul, but by the time he arrived the mission had been accomplished and he returned to Australia in January 1915.
He departed Australia again in May 1915 as pilot with the Australian Flying Corps, attached to the Royal Flying Corps.
On 30 July, when based at Nasariayah in Mesopotamia (Iraq), he took off to fly to Basra but a dust storm forced him to land in the desert where he and his passenger were attacked and killed.
He became the first Australian pilot to be killed in the Great War, he was 23 years of age and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial and on the honour board of the Dana Street Primary School.
MESSENGER John (SN 7291) from Humffray Street south had attended the Golden Point State School before he joined the Navy in 1912.
At the outbreak of war he was serving on the submarine HMAS AE 1 which was sent to New Guinea as an escort for the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force.
John Messenger became the first Ballarat serviceman to lose his life in the Great War when on 14 September 1914 the AE 1 was lost when it struck an uncharted reef in the Bismarck Archipelago off German New Guinea.
He was 25 years of age and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial in England and on the Roll of Honour at the Golden Point State School.