Nillumbik Council welcomes Veterans Affairs grants

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Hon. Damian Drum joined with Mayor, Cr Michael Young, Cr Bronnie Hattam and Cr Meralyn Klein recently at Wingrove Park, Eltham to announce that Council has been awarded two grants.

Mr Drum said, “The grant of $11,050 will go towards improving the Eltham Avenue of Honour and installing an interpretative bronze plaque dedicated to those who served in World War 1. Council will also get $1050 for a memorial plaque at the Hurstbridge Avenue of Honour.

The grants have been funded by the Victorian Government Department of Veterans Affairs, from the ‘Restoring Community War Memorials’ fund.

The original Eltham Avenue of Honour had 113 plane trees, one to commemorate every Eltham resident who served in World War 1. Each tree had a plaque with the name of an enlistee on the Avenue which ran from the junction of Mount Pleasant and Main Roads, continuing along Main Road, ending at the junction of Pitt Street. Due to road widening, disease, storms, accidents and the installation of cabling and pipes,

many of the original trees have disappeared. In the past twenty years the Shire of Nillumbik has replanted plane trees at a further distance from the road, but only 15 of the original trees remain, scarred from successive and necessary pruning by the power companies, stunted by their struggle to gain sustenance from Eltham’s famously shallow

soil.

It is much the same story for the Hurstbridge Avenue of Honour which originally had 50 elm trees along what is now named Anzac Avenue. With only 3 of the original trees remaining this grant will help restore the Avenue to life.

Cr Young said, “We are delighted to receive this funding which will go toward the creation of commemorative plaques and signage for future generations to come. As we move toward the Centenary of the Anzac it is important that our Nillumbik Anzac story is preserved and enhanced through our Avenues of Honour at Eltham and Hurstbridge.

Thank you goes to the Nillumbik Memorials Advisory Committee, chaired by Cr Meralyn Klein, the Eltham-Montmorency RSL, Eltham District Historical Society, Hurstbridge RSLHurstbridge Traders Association and the Hurstbridge Historical Group.

News article source: Eltham and Whittlesea Shires Advertiser and Diamond Creek Valley Advocate 19 September 1919 via Trove

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