Anzac Avenue

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. They planted thirty-six trees for thirty-six men who would never return. And so began Hamilton’s Anzac Avenue.

The first public suggestion of an Avenue of Honour for Hamilton came on 17 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, including Victoria Park in 1907, a former quarry turned rubbish tip close to the Grange Burn.


Mr. Hughan proposed 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 (sic) Avenue”. Supported unanimously, work began 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. Charles Johnson of Glencoe Nursery donated thirty-six Oriental Plane (Platanus orientalis) trees, and Thomas Rhook ploughed the plot, all under the watchful eye of Randolph Hughan.

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 long as the memory of man shall last. 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…

Lining the banks of the Grange Burn near the Skene Street footbridge, on Friday 22 June 1917 were schoolchildren from the Hamilton Higher Elementary school and St Mary’s Convent School, an official party, and residents of Hamilton. With the formal proceedings concluded, the children assisted those associated with the soldiers in planting each plane tree.

The following year at the monthly borough council meeting in April 1918, Randolph Hughan applied for permission to continue the planting of Anzac Avenue on the upcoming Arbor Day.  By the June council meeting, Randolph had dug the holes and moved guards from established trees around town to place around the Anzac Avenue trees to afford them some protection from roaming cattle.

Arbor Day, 1918, was 28 June, and fifty-seven trees for fifty-seven departed men were planted.  Charles Johnson was again a donor of the Oriental Plane trees as was local florist Arthur Kennedy. Volunteers were welcome to attend with a spade to fill in the holes. 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. Students from Hamilton Elementary School were also 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. Mr. Hughan intended for a framed plan to hang at the elementary school and the Hamilton Town Hall.  Sidney 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.

At the October 1918 council meeting, covered by the Hamilton Spectator on 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. With summer approaching, at the next monthly meeting, he put forward that schoolboys could again water the trees as done successfully the year before. By the final council meeting of 1918, Randolph Hughan was able to report that fifteen boys had volunteered to water the trees of Anzac Avenue. On 11 December, the boys carted 300 buckets of water from the creek.


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 Oriental Plane trees were planted, only thirty-two names were published.  Accompanying the names of the fallen soldiers were the names of those who planted trees, including family members, friends, and councillors. The planting order appears random. The Hamilton Spectator only published 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 was. The numbering started at thirty-seven, confirming the number of plantings in 1917 as thirty-seven, 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, it was 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 seven names from the total of ninety-three that remain unidentified. Those names are marked with an asterisk with further information toward the end of the page.


Trees Planted 22 June 1917

(Click on underlined names to read more. Name of tree planter in brackets)

JAFFRAY, Alfred John (Cpt) 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, C Company  ( Mrs. Moore, Mayoress of Hamilton) 

ILES, Cyril Thomas Brackley (Pte) 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion  (John Bayley Westacott) 

YOUNG, Clarence Everard (Pte) 8th Australian Infantry Battalion (Dolly Young)

CAMERON, Thomas Waddell (Pte) 14th Australian Infantry Battalion, D Company (D. Buckingham)

COULTER, Robert  James (Tpr) 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment, C Squadron. (Ross Coulter)

GIBSON, Sydney Walter (L/Cpl) 8th Australian Infantry Battalion (? Blackney)

HIND, William Arthur (Tpr) 8th Australian Light Horse Regiment, B Squadron. (Reg. Hind)

LEWIS, Arthur Harold (Pte) 14th Australian Infantry Battalion. (B. Clapham)

MORISON, John Archibald McFarlane “Jack” (Pte) 8th Australian Infantry Battalion, E Company (Mr. J. Morison)

WATERS, William Henry (Pte)14th Australian Infantry Battalion. (Fred Finn)

DOUGLAS, Claude Campbell Telford (Pte) 14th Australian Infantry Battalion, D Company. (Mr. P. H.Rogers)

RHOOK, Henry Joseph William (Pte) 39th Australian Infantry Battalion. (W. Rhook) 

KNIGHT, James Alfred(Pte) 6th Australian Infantry Battalion. ( G. Doig)

WILLIAMS, Lancelot  Hamilton (Spr) 5th Australian Field Company Engineers (Ray Williams)

TORBET, Gordon James (Pte) 5th Australian Infantry Battalion. (O. Torbet)

LOVELL, William Leslie (Pte) 14th Australian Infantry Battalion. (M. Lovell)

TILLEY, George Edward (Tpr) 8th Australian Light Horse Regiment. (Fred Short)

STAGOLL, Robert Leslie (Pte) 21st Australian Infantry Battalion. (G. Stagoll)

CAMERON, Sidney Joseph (Cpl) 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion (A. Jackson)

McQUEEN, George William (Lt) 14th Australian Infantry Battalion (G. Sloan)

LEES, William Alexander Christie (Pte) 7th  Australian Infantry Battalion. (Mr. S. H. Palmer) 

NELSON, G*. (C. Niddrie)

COLESTON, Stanley George (Pte) 24th Australian Infantry Battalion. (G. Curtell) 

THOMAS, Edward Courtney (Pte) 6th Australian Field Ambulance. (J. Connell)

SHEEHAN, Daniel Denis (Pte) 5th Australian Infantry Battalion (Cr. O’Neill)

EMMETT, Arthur Munro (Pte) 24th Australian Infantry Battalion (Master Emmett) 

EMMETT, Alfred Roy (Cpl) 39th Australian Infantry Battalion C Company (Master Emmett)

FILMER, Walter Stephen (2nd Lt) 22nd Australian Infantry Battalion (Miss Vera Greed)

ORD, Thomas Hugh (Pte) 6th  Australian Infantry Battalion (? Williams)

FINNEGAN, Terence (Pte) 7th Australian Infantry Battalion (Mr. Finnegan)

GREEN, Frank Regis(Pte) 60th Australian Infantry Battalion (Abraham Greed)

TULLY, John Luke Victor (Pte) 5th Australian Infantry Battalion (Mr. J. Lodge Jr.)

Trees Planted 28 June 1918

37. CATTERSON, Robert Henry (L/Sgt)14th Australian Infantry Battalion

38. COOK, George (Dvr) 6th Australian Field Company Engineers 

39. DARK, George Henry (Pte) 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion  

40. DUFF, Robert William(Pte) 38th Australian Infantry Battalion  

41. DUNN, Daniel Joseph (Pte) 3rd Australian Pioneer Battalion 

42. FOLEY, Cornelius Thomas (Gnr) 3rd Australian Field Artillery Brigade 

43. GIBSON, Victor Robert (L/Cpl)  60th Australian Infantry Battalion 

44. GORDON, James (Pte) 1st Australian Machine Corps 

45. HAYWARD, Herbert James (Pte) Depot Battalion 

46.HERLIHY, George Joseph David (Pte) 7th Australian Infantry Battalion 

47. HUDSON, Charles Robert (Pte) 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion

48. HUGGINS, E. * 

49. HARRIS, Leslie Duncan (Pte) 39th Australian Infantry Battalion

50. HOPKINS, Clive Boyer (Cpt) 14th Australian Light Mortar Battery 

51. INGRAM, John (Pte) 5th Australian Infantry Battalion 

52. JACKSON, Walter Henry (Pte) 6th Australian Infantry Battalion

53. JONES, E.H.*

54. JOYCE, E.*   

55. JOYCE, Matthew John (Pte) 14th Australian Infantry Battalion

56. JOYCE, Thomas William (L/Cpl) 24th Australian Infantry Battalion 

57. KEEGAN, Roderick James (Pte) 39th Australian Infantry Battalion

58. KILKELLY, James Patrick (Pte) 39th Australian Infantry Battalion

59. LANCE, George Basil (Pte) 50th Australian Infantry Battalion

60. LINDSAY, Charles Henry (Pte)  6th Australian Infantry Battalion

61. LODAN, A. H.*  

62. MALONE, M.*

63. MALONE, John Henry (Pte) 57th Australian Infantry Battalion

64. MULLANE, Leslie Alexander (Pte) 39th Australian Infantry Battalion

65. McKECKNIE, John Sinclair (Dvr) 4th Australian Field Artillery Brigade 

66. McPHEE, Norman Edward (Sgt)14th  Australian Infantry Battalion   

67. McPHEE, John Alexander(Pte) 2nd Battalion Auckland Infantry Regiment, NZ Forces

68. McSWAIN, John (Pte) 39th Australian Infantry Battalion

69.NIVEN, William David (Pte) 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment

70. NORMAN, William Leslie (Cpl) 21st Australian Infantry Battalion

71. OSBORNE, Percy Beaumont (L.Sgt) 8th Australian Infantry Battalion

72. PEACH, William Robert (Pte) 24th Australian Infantry Battalion

73. RICHIE, George (Pte) 14th Australian Infantry Battalion

74. SACK, James (Pte) 8th Australian Infantry Battalion

75. SALTER, Herbert Ernest (L/Cpl) 8th Australian Infantry Battalion

76. SCOTT, Alexander William (Pte) 21st Australian Infantry Battalion

77. SHARROCK, Charles (L/Cpl) 39th Australian Infantry Battalion

78. SHEEHAN, Albert Edward (Pte) 14th Australian Infantry Battalion, D Company

79. SLOAN, Joseph (Pte) 46th Australian Infantry Battalion

80. STEVENSON, Edgar Richmond (Pte) 39th  Australian Infantry Battalion 

81. STEVENSON, Alexander John (Sgt) 39th Australian Infantry Battalion  

82. TAYLOR, John Woolhouse (Pte) 28th Australian Infantry Battalion

83. THOMPSON, William Norton (Pte) 6th Australian Infantry Battalion

84. TREDREA, Francis Stanley (Pte) 21st Australian Infantry Battalion 

85. TRIGGER, Samuel Winifred (Pte) 50th Australian Infantry Battalion 

86. WESTGARTH, Leonard Horace (L/Cpl) 8th Australian Infantry Battalion 

87. WILLIAMS, Clifford Davies (Pte) 7th Australian Infantry Battalion

88. WINNELL, William (Pte) 58th Australian Infantry Battalion 

89. FENTON, John Wilfred MM (Lt) 5th Australian Field Artillery Brigade 

90. WHITE, James Michael (Pte) 8th Australian Infantry Battalion 

91. BAKER, W.*

92. PRIMROSE, Leslie John (Lt) Australian Flying Corps, No. 2 Squadron,

93. WILLIAMS, Lewis Henry Clifford (Pte) 39th Australian Infantry Battalion 


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.

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AIF Project

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour.

Hamilton Spectator – 1904-1918

Hamilton Spectator – Anzac Avenue articles – 1917/1918

National Archives of Australia-WW1 service records

Photos of enlisted men courtesy of the Australian War Memorial Photograph Collection


Gardner, Margaret, Heffernan, Val and Hamilton History Centre Exploring Hamilton: mini histories for a walk. no. 2, the Grange Burn walk. Hamilton History Centre, Hamilton, Vic, 2005.

©Merron Riddiford 2017 (and revised 2023)