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Bacchus Marsh
Avenue of Honour

An Avenue is Born

In early September 1914 a meeting was held to farewell the first group of local soldiers going to the Front.

... Charles Waterhouse, Charles Edwards, William Morton, Samuel Minnett, Colin Todd, William MacKenzie, Maurice Whelan, Thomas Oliver, Alex. Murdoch, Richard Barry, Charles Lyle, Alfred Farrow, Arthur Hine, Reginald Evans, Thos. O'Leary, Webbe Crook, Frank Crook, George Moore, John Campbell, Wm. Clark, ...

- The Bacchus Marsh Express 12th September 1914

The first public meeting to establish the Avenue was held at the Bacchus Marsh Shire Hall on Monday the 24th of June 1918, with all residents of the Shire requested to attend. decide on what steps shall be taken to plant trees on the main roads in honor of district soldiers. Many other places already have the work well, in hand. If advantage is to be taken of the present planting season no time will have to be lost.

- The Bacchus Marsh Express 22nd June 1918
click to enlarge
Photo courtesy of Sarah Wood Photography

The meeting resolved to refer the matter back to Council to carry out and the Council meeting on the 8th of July resolved that Council and a public committee should carry out the scheme and anyone who wished could help.(2)

Council also decided to call a meeting at Myrniong to see if they wanted to plant trees locally or as part of the Bacchus Marsh avenue—they chose to plant locally.

The committee held another public meeting(3) on the 15th of July, the result of which was a call for a Monster Working Bee(4) on the 3rd of August to dig the holes and plant the trees.

...Trees will only be planted for soldiers who enlisted in the Shire or whose parents resided here at the time of enlistment. It is expected that 170 will be required for this length of road, others having been planted elsewhere. Name plates and guards will be provided for each tree, and volunteers in the making of the guards are asked for - see particulars advertised. The ladies have undertaken to provide refreshments for the "bees" and assistance in this direction will also be welcomed. The Shire Council has decided to act as guarantor for the expense incurred...
... This privilege is also extended to any friends who wish to provide for a soldier connected with the district but did not enlist here...

- The Bacchus Marsh Express 20th July 1918

The date of the tree planting was altered(6) to the 10th of August due to the name plates and timber for the tree gaurds not being available by the 3rd. It was now expected that 200 trees would be planted and 120 were already subscribed.

Shortly before the day of the planting the number of trees to be planted had risen to 280 of which 211 had been subscribed(7).

On Saturday the 10th of August 1918 over 1000 people assembled near the Woolpack Inn to witness and assist in the planting ceremony. After the relatives and friends had distributed themselves along the two mile length of the Avenue, a bugle sounded and all 281 trees were planted, with the aid of the Planting Supervisors, within half an hour(8).

The trees planted were Canadian Elms - the Country Roads Board (CRB) would not allow evergreens as they would keep the road damp in winter. The CRB also insisted on them being planted 23ft. from the centre of the road, which means some of the trees at the western end encroach upon the footpath(7).


  1. Public Meeting - The Bacchus Marsh Express 13th July 1918
  2. Public Meeting - The Bacchus Marsh Express 13th July 1918
  3. Monster Working Bee - The Bacchus Marsh Express 20th July 1918
  4. Date changed to the 10th of August - The Bacchus Marsh Express 27th July 1918
  5. Day of the planting - The Bacchus Marsh Express 10th August 1918
  6. Report of the planting - The Bacchus Marsh Express 17th August 1918