To commemorate the Centenary of Anzac (2014-2018) the City of Ballarat, with the generous support of local institutions, committees, associations and individuals, launched a mobile website titled ‘Honouring Our Anzacs’. This easy to navigate platform enables access to the stories behind the 3,801 brave Ballarat men and women who fought for our country’s freedoms during the Great War. This mobile website is designed to enable access to the information available for those who have a memorial tree planted along the Ballarat Avenue of Honour.
While every effort has been made to ensure the information on this platform is complete, we seek the support of those who have in their possession the stories and photographs of those along the Ballarat Avenue of Honour.
If you have any information and particularly photos of any of the people mentioned on this web site, please contact the Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee.
COVID-19 restrictions have forced the cancellation of all public events for the foreseeable future.
October - As October approaches, it is sobering to remember that 64 men from Ballarat’s Avenue of Honour lost their lives in October 1917 fighting near Passchendaele in Belgium, 33 of those in the first week. Only the bloody battles of July 1916 at Fromelles and Pozieres in France, which claimed the lives of 75 Ballarat men, took a heavier toll.
The first of those Ballarat men to die was Ernest Gribble from Mair Street. He had been educated at the Pleasant Street State School and was working as a tailor when he enlisted in March 1915. Seventeen year old David Powell from Sebastopol died the day after Ernest Gribble, but October 4th saw the death of 24 of our Avenue men in the mud and horror of the fighting at Broodseinde Ridge. That only two of those 24 men have a known grave gives some indication of the carnage on that battlefield. The death of Spencer Day on that day was not the first blow suffered by his parents George and Mary from Wilson Street in Ballarat East. Spencer’s brother William had been killed in action four months earlier.
James Peasnell, a former Queen Street State School boy, died of wounds on October 17th. In 1912 he had been awarded the Albert Silver Medal for his bravery in trying to rescue fellow miners at the Mt. Lyell Mine disaster in Tasmania. Courage on the battlefield had already earned high level bravery awards for Joseph Pearce, Harry Holgate, Lewis Mudie and Henry Williams who all lost their lives in October.
Of the 64 Ballarat men who died in October 1917 only 23 have a known grave. The other 41 have their names recorded among the 56,000 names on the Menin Gate Memorial in Belgium, so their tree and plaque in our Avenue of Honour affords each of them an individual memorial
September 14th marked the anniversary of the death of the first Ballarat serviceman to lose his life in World War 1. Australia's first action of the war was in September 1914 when the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) was sent to New Guinea to neutralise a German colony and wireless base. Accompanying that force was the submarine AE1 whose crew included Ballarat's John 'Jack' Messenger. From Humffray Street South, Messenger had been educated at the Golden Point State School before joining the Royal Australian Navy in December 1912. On September 14th 1914, the AE1, with a crew of 35 men, disappeared without a trace off the New Guinea coast. It was not until December 2017 that the wreckage was found ..... 103 years later! It is believed that the AE1, had struck a previously uncharted reef.
John Messenger is commemorated in the Avenue of Honour at Tree 1433.
September - Tree Planting. During September, following good autumn rains and favourable planting conditions, Ballarat City Council has replaced sixty-eight trees in the Avenue. Some trees have been lost as a result of vehicle accidents while others have succumbed to the passage of time. Following the planting, the Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee will supervise the reinstatement of more than sixty commemorative plaques and the on-site repair of another forty, bringing our Avenue back to top condition.
The photos of Gallipoli headstones included on this website are provided courtesy of the Spirits of Gallipoli project.