A significant anniversary was recognised on Friday, during a formal rededication of a restored memorial to Ballarat’s world war one soldiers and nurses.
The event also marked the centenary of the death of the last Avenue soldier to be killed in action in the first world war, Alexander John Anderson, of the 4th Light Horse Regiment.
The cairn, which stands in the district of Weatherboard, was originally built by Ballarat citizens 85 years ago.
Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh said the cairn and the Avenue remained important points of connection for many Ballarat families to relatives who served in the first world war.
“The words on the two plaques attached to the cairn make it clear that, almost two decades after the first world war, Ballarat citizens wanted to commemorate those from our Avenue who gave their lives in service of their country,” she said.
“Even today, flowers and photos left at plaques along the Avenue demonstrate just how important these plaques remain to many local families who want to honour and commemorate the service and sacrifice of their relatives.”
The Australian War Memorial Role of Honour records the names of 757 soldiers and 2 nurses from our Avenue who gave their lives for our country
The restoration of the cairn was delivered by the City of Ballarat in partnership with Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee.
It was made possible with an $18,000 grant from the State Government’s Restoring War Memorials and Avenues of Honour Grant Program, and $15,000 from the Federal Government’s ANZAC Centenary Grant program
Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee President Garry Snowden added this project completes a series of projects that have been undertaken over the last 8-9 years.
“It commenced with the renovation of the Arch of Victory in 2011, then we had the overpass construction, which opened just ahead of Anzac Day in 2015, we were then able to add the Garden of the Grieving Mother a couple of years after that and whilst those things were going on there was a revised maintenance of the plaques and trees but one of the things that remained was the restoration of the cairn to mark the end of the Avenue,” Mr Snowden explained.
“The cairn was originally constructed by the Returned Soldiers Fathers Association and it’s interesting that at one end of the Avenue we have the Garden of the Grieving Mother and at the other end we have a memorial placed by the soldiers fathers, who were grieving, as well.”
Mr Snowden added that the restoration stayed true to the original structure.
“Nothing has been changed about the cairn, nothing has been added to it, we have changed nothing, we simply restored the memorial that was built,” Mr Snowden said.