Over the last few years I've written a post to honour Anzac Day, one post was about sweetheart brooches, another about Villers-Bretonneux. This year I was hoping to post some photos of a country town War Memorial but my run up country this morning just wasn't successful. So I thought I might write about the Avenues of Honour that dot country Victoria.
There are seven of them, the biggest and oldest in Ballarat, 22 kilometers long and 3,912 trees. Each tree marks a soldier who fought or died in war who came from the town and surrounds in which the Avenue was planted. Often you will see a plaque at the base of the tree with a soldiers name. There are also Avenues at Booroopki, Lysterfield, Lakes Entrance, Buchan South and my two favourites at Bacchus Marsh and Woodend. As you sweep into both these towns beautiful trees arch over the road and seem to welcome you in. At Woodend there has been a concerted effort to clean up and maintain the Avenue but sadly the Avenue of Honour at Bacchus Marsh is under serious threat from road widening and bureaucratic stupidity.
The beauty of the Avenues of Honour is that they are living memorials. In one way they are finite just as we are, they live and grow and die, but they also outlive generations, they cycle through the seasons and are symbols of renewal and regrowrth.
'They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.'