On Arbor Day 1917, the people of Hamilton gathered to honour Hamilton men who had lost their lives serving ‘King and Country’ in the Great War, with a tree planted for thirty-six men who never returned. And so began Hamilton’s Anzac Avenue.
The first suggestion of an Avenue of Honour for Hamilton came in May 1917. Fronting the Hamilton Elementary School committee, the curator of the Hamilton Botanic Gardens, Randolph Hughan encouraged the involvement of students from the local schools in tree planting activities on Arbor Day on 22 June. The children’s efforts to that date had beautified several areas around Hamilton.
Mr Hughan suggested the children plant trees beside the Grange Burn in honour of ex-pupils of Hamilton schools who had made the ultimate sacrifice. Each student would water a nominated tree until established. The location, he said, would be “on the side of the creek opposite Alexandra Avenue”. Supported unanimously, work started to ensure Mr Hughan’s idea would become a reality, starting with the naming of the commemorative planting as Anzac Avenue.
In the ensuing weeks, invitations were sent to dignitaries, including Hamilton Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor and Mrs. Moore, the President of the Shire of Dundas, Councillor Lewis, and church representatives. Mr. C. Johnson donated thirty-six trees and Mr. T. Rhook ploughed the plot, all under the watchful eye of Randolph Hughan.
At the ordinary meeting of the Hamilton Borough Council on 14 June, E.E. Burgess from the Hamilton State School committee confirmed the location of the planting on 22 June, on the north side of the creek, opposite Victoria Avenue.
On the day before Arbor Day, the following extract appeared in the Hamilton Spectator of 21 June 1917.
“It is to perpetuate the memory of the brave men who have been prepared to pay the supreme sacrifice for their homes and Empire. They heard the call, and they responded, and they have immortalised the name Anzac so Iong as the memory of man shall last. Evidently in the Australian a new race has come into being characterised not only by the bulldog tenacity of his sires, but for abundance of initiative, and positive indifference to danger. The old custom was to fix remembrance of the dead in a broken column, but a broken column has no message of hope, and it somehow seems to indicate that a life has suddenly been cut off, of which failure has been the distinguishing feature. But the idea of planting trees in memory of the brave dead surely is most excellent. The local Anzac avenue will never allow the self-sacrifice of lads who once moved in our midst ever to pass into the limbo of oblivion. They faced the terrible danger, they bled, and they died, to secure safety for others, to protect their native land from an enemy who gloats in atrocity…”
Lining the banks of the Grange Burn near the end of Skene Street, on Friday 22 June 1917 were school children from the Elementary school, an official party, and residents of Hamilton. With the formal proceedings concluded, the school children assisted those associated with the soldiers in planting each tree. The Spectator of 23 June 1917 indicated the planting would extend from Skene Street along the right bank to the railway bridge. A later report on 30 June mentioned the splendid location “within easy view of the early historical portion of the town.”
On 12 July 1917, as reported in the Hamilton Spectator of 17 July 1917, Mr. Hughan reported to the council on the success of Arbor Day with thirty-six Oriental Plane trees planted and room for another seventy-five memorial trees. He hoped eventually an avenue of trees, including Anzac Avenue, and the existing Victoria Avenue and Australian Avenue would extend from the Ballarat Road bridge through to the Portland Road bridge. That would allow room in between the deciduous memorial trees for the planting of around 500 wattle trees.
Mr. Hughan suggested to the council on 9 August 1917 that the time was right to complete Anzac Avenue if the schools wanted to complete it in 1917. It was decided planting would continue on Arbor Day 2018.
Arbor Day, 1918, was 28 June and fifty-seven trees for fifty-seven departed men were planted. Mr. C. Johnson donor of the trees for the 1917 planting again donated thirty Oriental Plane trees and Mr. A.Kennedy donated a further thirty. Before the event, Mr. Hughan stated he expected those trees to take the avenue through to the railway bridge over the Grange Burn.
Attendance on the day was a little disappointing, but the weather, described as ‘bracing’ by the Hamilton Spectator on 4 July 1918, may have been the reason. Again, students from the Hamilton Elementary School were in attendance. Mr. Hughan received three cheers for his preparatory work and for drawing a plan of the avenue so that in years to come, the trees planted in honour of the fallen soldiers could be identified. Once the avenue was completed, Mr Hughan intended for a framed plan to hang at the Elementary School and the Town Hall. Mr. S.Officer received three cheers for providing the list of local soldiers. Mr. Gill, the Inspector of Schools, congratulated the boys of the Elementary School for carting 800 buckets of water to those trees planted in 1917.
Eventually, it was reported, Anzac Avenue would connect to Victoria Avenue on the north side of the creek, “and when a subway is provided under the railway bridge, the entrance to the town from that part of South Hamilton will be beautifully lined with plane trees and other ornamental trees.”
At the October 1918 Council meeting, covered by the Hamilton Spectator of 17 October, Mr. Hughan reported that many of the Oriental Plane trees planted in Anzac Avenue had suffered badly from spring frosts. However, he believed they would recover.
ABOUT THE LIST
The list of those men with a commemorative tree planted in their memory came from two separate lists that appeared in the Hamilton Spectator after Arbor Day 1917 and 1918, with the first published on 30 June 1917. In that year, although thirty-six trees were planted only thirty-two names were published. Accompanying the names of the fallen soldiers were the names of those who, with help from the school children, planted trees. They included family members, friends, and councillors. The planting order appears random. The Hamilton Spectator published only the first initials and surnames of the soldiers and there were some errors with the initials.
The second list of trees planted came from the Hamilton Spectator of 4 July 1918. The list was unlike that of the year before. Names of the tree planters were not published, but the number allocated to each tree. The numbering started at thirty-seven, confirming the number of plantings in 1917, and went through to ninety-three, equalling the reported number of plantings in 1918 of fifty-seven. The list is mostly alphabetical, however, the first tree planted in 1918, number thirty-six was for Robert Catterson. There were no names beginning with the first two letters of the alphabet. The intention in the previous year was to honour ex-pupils of Hamilton schools, but in 1918, the honour appears to have extended to other men with links to Hamilton. Again, there were some errors in the published names of the soldiers.
This is not the complete list of those honoured along Hamilton’s Anzac Avenue nor is it the full list of Hamilton men who did not return. Aside from the four names missing from the first planting, in their guide, “The Grange Burn Walk“, Margaret Gardner and Val Heffernan refer to Mr Hughan having received permission to plant twenty-nine more trees on Arbor Day 1920. As for the two framed plans of Anzac Avenue prepared by Randolph Hughan, they have disappeared and it is unknown if they did ever hang at the Town Hall and Elementary School. In addition, there are eleven names from the total ninety-three that remain unidentified. Marked with an asterisk, there is more information about them toward the end of the page.
ANZAC AVENUE, HAMILTON
(Click on underlined names to read more)
JAFFRAY, Alfred John – 9th Light Horse Regiment, C Squadron. Rank: Captain; Killed in Action: Gallipoli Turkey, 29 August 1915. Tree planted by Mrs. Moore, Mayoress of Hamilton.
ILES, Cyril Thomas Brackley – 23rd Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres France, 4 August 1916. Tree planted by John Bayley Westacott.
YOUNG, Clarence Everard – 8th Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres France, 26 July 1916. Tree planted by Dolly Young.
CAMERON, Thomas Waddell – 14th Battalion, D Company; Killed in Action: Gallipoli Turkey, 8 August 1915. Tree planted by D. Buckingham.
COULTER, Robert James – 4th Light Horse Regiment, C Squadron; Died of Illness: Egypt, 7 November 1915. Tree planted by Ross Coulter.
GIBSON, Sydney Walter – 8th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Gallipoli Turkey, 3 May 1915. Tree planted by ? Blackney.
HIND, William Arthur – 8th Light Horse Regiment, B Squadron; Killed in Action: Gallipoli Turkey, 7 August 1915. Tree planted by Reg. Hind.
LEWIS, Arthur Harold – 14th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Gallipoli Turkey, 13 August 1915. Tree planted by B. Clapham.
MORISON, John Archibald McFarlane “Jack” – 8th Battalion, E Company; Died of Wounds: Malta, 12 June 1915. Tree planted by Mr. J. Morison. (Listed as Jack Morison)
WATERS, William Henry – 14th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Gallipoli Turkey, 8 May 1915. Tree planted by Fred Finn.
DOUGLAS, Claude Campbell Telford – 14th Battalion, D Company; Killed in Action: Gallipoli Turkey, 21 August 1915. Tree planted by Mr. P. H.Rogers. (Listed as G.C.T.Douglas)
RHOOK, Henry Joseph William – 39th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Wimereux, France, 28 February 1917. Tree planted by W. Rhook. (Listed as A.H.Rhook, brother of Henry, who returned home 20 December 1918).
KNIGHT, James Alfred – 6th Battalion; Killed in Action: Fleurbaix, France, 8 June 1916. Tree planted by G. Doig.
WILLIAMS, Lancelot Hamilton – 5th Field Company Engineers; Died of Wounds: Belgium, 24 September 1916. Tree planted by Ray Williams.
TORBET, Gordon James – 5th Battalion; Killed in Action: Thilloy, France, 2 March 1917. Tree planted by O. Torbet.
LOVELL, William Leslie – 14th Battalion; Killed in Action: Bullecourt, France, 11 April 1917. Tree planted by M. Lovell.
TILLEY, George Edward – 8th Light Horse Regiment; Died of Wounds: Palestine, 22 April 1917. Tree planted by Fred Short (cousin).
STAGOLL, Robert Leslie – 21st Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres France, 24 August 1916. Tree planted by G. Stagoll.
CAMERON, Sidney Joseph – 23rd Battalion, Rank: Corporal; Killed in Action: France, August 1916. Tree planted by A. Jackson.
McQUEEN, George William – 14th Battalion;. Killed in Action: Beugnâtre, France, 29 March 1917. Tree planted by G. Sloan.
LEES, William Alexander Christie – 7th Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres, France, 26 July 1916. Tree planted by Mr. S. H. Palmer. (Listed as C.W.A.Lees)
NELSON, G*.- Tree planted by C. Niddrie.
COLESTON, Stanley George – 24th Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres France, 28 July 1916. Tree planted by G. Curtell. (Listed as C.G.Coleston)
THOMAS, Edward Courtney – 6th Field Ambulance; Killed in Action: France, 11 November 1916. Tree planted by J. Connell. (Listed as G.C.Thomas)
SHEEHAN, Daniel Denis – 5th Battalion; Killed in Action: Gueudecourt, France, 6 November 1916. Tree planted by Cr. O’Neill.
EMMETT, Arthur Munro – 24th Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres France, 26 July 1916. Tree planted by Master Emmett (North Hamilton).
FILMER, Walter Stephen – 22nd Battalion, Rank: Lieutenant; Killed: Bullecourt France, 3 May 1917. Tree planted by Miss Vera Greed.
ORD, Thomas Hugh – 6th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Rouen, France, 10 May 1917. Tree planted by Williams.
FINNEGAN, Terence – 7th Battalion; Killed in Action: Noreuil, France, 12 May 1916. Tree planted by Mr. Finnegan.
GREEN, Frank Regis – 60th Battalion. Killed in Action: France 12 May 1917. Tree planted by Mr. Abraham Greed (uncle of Vera Greed, above)
TULLY, John Luke Victor – 5th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Abbeville, France, 19 May 1917. Tree planted by Mr. J. Lodge, jnr.
37. CATTERSON, Robert Henry –14th Battalion; Killed in Action: Bullecourt, France, 11 April 1917
38. COOK, George – 6th Field Company Engineers; Accidentally Killed: Bancourt, France, 26 June 1917 (Also George Cook (5984) of 8th Battalion who returned home)
39. DARK, George Henry – 53rd Battalion. Killed in Action: Delville Wood, France, 4 December 1916
40. DUFF, Robert William – 38th Battalion. Killed in action: Belgium, 13 October 1917
41. DUNN, Daniel Joseph – 3rd Pioneer Battalion; Killed in Action: Ypres Belgium, 19 October 1917
42. FOLEY, Cornelius Thomas – 3rd Australian Field Artillery Brigade; Killed in Action: Zonnebeke, Belgium, 22 October 1917
43. GIBSON, Victor Robert – 60th Battalion (late 8th Battalion); Killed in Action: Fleurbaix, France, 19 July 1916
44. GORDON, James – No. 1 Company, Australian Machine Corps; Died of Wounds: Pozieres, France, 21 July 1916
45. HAYWARD, Herbert James – Died from illness: Melbourne Victoria, 15 September 1915
46. HERLIHY, George Joseph David – St. Mary’s Convent School; 7th Battalion; Killed in Action: Amiens, France, 11 April 1918
47. HUDSON, Charles Robert – 23rd Battalion; Died of Wounds: Noreuil, France, 21 April 1917
48. HUGGINS, E. *
49. HARRIS, Leslie Duncan – Hamilton State School; 39th Battalion; Killed in Action: Messines, Belgium, 7 June 1917
50. HOPKINS, Clive Boyer – 14th Light Mortar Battery (late 13th Battalion), Rank: Captain; Killed in Action: Fleurbaix, France, 20 July 1916.
51. INGRAM, John – 5th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Rouen, France,1 December 1916
52. JACKSON, Walter Henry – 6th Battalion; Killed in Action: Ypres, Belgium, 20 September 1917
53. JONES, E.H.*
54. JOYCE, E.*
55. JOYCE, Matthew John – 14th Battalion; Killed in Action: Bullecourt, France, 11 April 1917
56. JOYCE, Thomas William – 24th Battalion; Died as a result of an accident: Warloy-Baillon, France, 1 June 1917 (Listed as J.W.Joyce)
57. KEEGAN, Roderick James – 39th Battalion; Died of Disease: Harefield, Middlesex, England, 20 November 1917
58. KILKELLY, James Patrick – 39th Battalion; Killed in Action: Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium, 29 May 1917
59. LANCE, George Basil – 50th Battalion; Killed in Action: Broodseinde Ridge, Belgium, 18 October 1917
60. LINDSAY, Charles Henry – 6th Battalion. Killed in Action: Gallipoli, Turkey, 8 May 1915
61. LODAN, A. H.*
62. MALONE, M.*
63. MALONE, John Henry – 57th Battalion; Killed in Action: Polygon Wood, Belgium, 26 September 1917
64. MULLANE, Leslie Alexander – 39th Battalion; Killed in Action: Passchendaele, Belgium, 12 October 1917
65. McKECKNIE, John Sinclair – 5th Field Artillery Brigade 5, Battery 15; Died of Wounds: France, 24 July 1917
66. McPHEE, Norman Edward – 14th Battalion Rank: Sergeant; Died of Wounds: Flanders, Belgium, 27 September 1917
67. McPHEE, John Alexander – New Zealand Forces. Killed in Action: France, 7 June 1917 (listed as W.McPhee)
68. McSWAIN, John – 39th Battalion; Died of Illness: Ballarat Victoria, 11 April 1916
69. NIVEN, William David – 4th Light Horse Regiment; Died of Wounds: Gallipoli, Turkey, 5 August 1915
70. NORMAN, William Leslie – 21st Battalion; Killed in Action: Broodseinde Ridge, Belgium, 8 October 1917
71. OSBORNE, Percy Beaumont – 8th Battalion; Died of Disease: Tidworth, England, 2 February 1917
72. PEACH, William Robert – 24th Battalion; Killed in Action: Ypres, Belgium, 21 September 1917 (Listed as W.P.Peach)
73. RICHIE, George – 14thBattalion; Killed in Action: Gueudecourt, France, 5 February 1917 (Recorded as G. Ritchie)
74. SACK, James – 8th Battalion; Killed in Action: Flers, France, 9 November 1916
75. SALTER, Herbert Ernest – 8th Battalion; Killed in Action: Passchendaele Wood, Belgium, 5 October 1917
76. SCOTT, Alexander William – 21st Battalion; Died of Wounds: Mouquet Farm, France, 26 August 1916
77. SHARROCK, Charles – 39th Battalion; Killed in Action: Messines, Belgium, 8 June 1917
78. SHEEHAN, Albert Edward –14th Battalion D Company; Killed in Action: Gallipoli, Turkey, 8 August 1915
79. SLOAN, Joseph – 46th Battalion; Killed in Action: Bapaume, France, 11 April 1917
80. STEVENSON, Edgar Richmond – 39th Battalion; Killed in Action: Ypres Belgium, 4 October 1917
81. STEVENSON, Alexander John – 39th Battalion Rank: Sergeant; Died of Wounds: Ypres Belgium, 15 October 1917
82. TAYLOR, John Woolhouse – 28th Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres, France, 29 July 1916
83. THOMPSON, William Norton – 6th Battalion; Killed in Action: Ypres, Belgium, 18 September 1917, (Listed as W.W.Thompson)
84. TREDREA, Francis Stanley – 21st Battalion; Killed in Action: Fromelles, France, 19 July 1916
85. TRIGGER, Samuel Winifred – 50th Battalion; Killed in Action: Mouquet Farm, France, 16 August 1916
86. WESTGARTH, Leonard Horace – 8th Battalion; Killed in Action: Bullecourt, France, 12 May 1917
87. WILLIAMS, Clifford Davies – 7th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Broodseinde Ridge, Belgium, 1 October 1917
88. WINNELL, William – 58th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Rouen, France, 13 March 1917
89. FENTON, John Wilfred – Field Artillery Brigade 4. Rank: Lieutenant; Died of Wounds: Boulogne, France, 19 June 1918
90. WHITE, James Michael – 8th Battalion. Killed in Action: Flers, France, 6 November 1916
91. BAKER, W.*
92. PRIMROSE, Leslie John – No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps. Rank: Lieutenant; Killed in Action: Clermont, France, 4 June 1917
93. WILLIAMS, Lewis Henry Clifford – 39th Battalion. Died of Wounds: France, 4 August 1917
LEST WE FORGET
ANZAC AVENUE TODAY
For several generations, the people of Hamilton have walked, fished, and played on the banks of the Grange Burn, oblivious to the meaning behind the trees. Despite the replacement of the original trees, the Avenue form remains. Margaret Gardner and Val Heffernan in their “Grange Burn Walk” booklet estimate there are now about fifty trees that seem to make up the avenue.
Without name plaques, the gums seem insignificant. Plaques don’t seem to have been a part of the planning stage, but maybe identifiers at each tree, rather than a plan alone, could have built and maintained the avenue’s importance to Hamilton. However, not all is forgotten of the history of the trees beside the Grange. An interpretive board, with information from the Hamilton History Centre, provides the story of those Arbor Days almost 100 years ago. Those days when Hamilton put its faith in future generations to perpetuate the memory of the town’s brave men who gave their lives for their country and for the likes of the children of the Elementary school who carted water for the trees, playing their role in ensuring the men of Anzac Avenue would not be forgotten.
BAKER, W. – There is no record of a W.Baker of Hamilton enlisting. William Henry Jasper Baker formally of Byaduk enlisted in Hamilton and returned to Australia on 31 October 1917.
HUGGINS, E. – An Ernest Frederick Huggins of Hamilton enlisted. however, he returned home in 1918.
JONES, E.H. – There is no record of an E.H.Jones of Hamilton having enlisted.
JOYCE, E – The only E. Joyce found was Ernest Oswald Joyce, however, he did not enlist.
LODEN, A.H. – There is no record of anyone with the name Loden to have served during WW1. There was an A.H.Louden of Hamilton who enlisted but was discharged shortly after enlistment. Other name variations such as Lorden have been eliminated.
MALONE, M – Tree number sixty-four, immediately before that of John Henry Malone. There is no record of an M.Malone from Hamilton having enlisted, however, John Malone’s father was Matthew Malone or M. Malone.
G.NELSON – Although G.Nelson was named on the Hamilton Elementary School Honour Roll, there is no record of a G.Nelson with Hamilton links on the Australian Honour Roll.
©Merron Riddiford 2017