In 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, so began Hamilton’s Anzac Avenue.
The first suggestion of an Avenue of Honour for Hamilton came in May 1917. 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. Their efforts to that date had beautified several areas around Hamilton. Mr Hughan put an idea to the Elementary School board, later known as the Hamilton High School, that children from the school should 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. 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 months, 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.
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 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.
On 12 July 1917, as reported in the Hamilton Spectator of 17 July 1917, Mr Hughan reported to council on the success of Arbor Day with thirty-six Oriental Plane trees planted and room for another seventy-five memorial trees. He hoped that the 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.
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 that he expected those trees to take the avenue through to the railway bridge over the Grange Burn, around the end of Kennedy Street.
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. Three cheers were given to Mr Hughan 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 finally completed, Mr Hughan intended for a framed plan to hang at the Elementary School and the Town Hall. Three cheers were also given to Mr S.Officer 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 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 rather the number allocated to each tree. The numbering started at thirty-seven, confirming the amount 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 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 in no way 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 – Hamilton State School; 9th Light Horse Regiment, C Squadron. Rank: Captain; Killed in Action: Gallipoli Turkey, 29 August 1915 aged 32. Tree planted by Mrs Moore, Mayoress of Hamilton.
ILES, Cyril Thomas Brackley – 23rd Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres France, 4 August 1916 aged 26. Tree planted by John Bayley Westacott.
YOUNG, Clarence Everard – Hamilton State School; 8th Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres France, 26 July 1916 aged 19. Tree planted by Dolly Young.
CAMERON, Thomas Waddell – 14th Battalion, D Company; Killed in Action: Gallipoli Turkey, 8 August 1915 aged 25. Tree planted by D. Buckingham.
COULTER, Robert James – 4th Light Horse Regiment, C Squadron; Died of Illness: Egypt, 7 November 1915 aged 22. 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 aged 20. Tree planted by Reg. Hind.
LEWIS, Arthur Harold – 14th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Gallipoli Turkey, 13 August 1915 aged 18. Tree planted by B. Clapham.
MORISON, John Archibald McFarlane “Jack” – 8th Battalion, E Company; Died of Wounds: Malta, 12 June 1915 aged 21. Tree planted by Mr J. Morison. (Listed as Jack Morison)
WATERS, William Henry – 14th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Gallipoli Turkey, 8 May 1915 aged 21. Tree planted by Fred Finn.
DOUGLAS, Claude Campbell Telford – Hamilton State School;14th Battalion, D Company; Killed in Action: Gallipoli Turkey, 21 August 1915 aged 21. Tree planted by Mr. P. H.Rogers. (Listed as G.C.T.Douglas)
RHOOK, Henry Joseph William – 39th Battalion; Died of Wounds: France, 28 February 1917 aged 25. 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: France, 8 June 1916 aged 41. Tree planted by G. Doig.
WILLIAMS, Lancelot Hamilton – 5th Field Company Engineers; Died of Wounds: Belgium, 24 September 1916 aged 26. Tree planted by Ray Williams.
TORBET, Gordon James – 5th Battalion; Killed in Action: France, 2 March 1917 aged 30. Tree planted by O. Torbet.
LOVELL, William Leslie – Hamilton State School; 14th Battalion; Killed in Action: Bullecourt France, 11 April 1917 aged 20. Tree planted by M. Lovell.
TILLEY, George Edward – 8th Light Horse Regiment; Died of Wounds: Palestine, 22 April 1917 aged 23. Tree planted by Fred Short (cousin).
STAGOLL, Robert Leslie – Hamilton State School; 21st Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres France, 24 August 1916 aged 21. Tree planted by G. Stagoll.
CAMERON, Sidney Joseph – Hamilton State School; 23rd Battalion, Rank: Corporal; Killed in Action: France, 15 August 1916 aged 25. Tree planted by A. Jackson.
McQUEEN, George William – 14th Battalion;. Killed in Action: France, 29 March 1917 aged 43. Tree planted by G. Sloan.
LEES, William Alexander Christie – 7th Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres, France, 26 July 1916 aged 23. Tree planted by Mr. S. H. Palmer. (Listed as C.W.A.Lees)
NELSON, G*.- Tree planted by C. Niddrie.
COLESTON, Stanley George – Hamilton State School; 24th Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres France, 28 July 1916 aged 23. Tree planted by G. Curtell. (Listed as C.G.Coleston)
THOMAS, G. C.* – Tree planted by J. Connell.
SHEEHAN, Daniel Denis – 5th Battalion; Killed in Action: France, 6 November 1916 aged 34. Tree planted by Cr. O’Neill.
EMMETT, Arthur Munro – Hamilton State School; 24th Battalion; Killed in Action: Pozieres France, 26 July 1916 aged 32. Tree planted by Master Emmett (North Hamilton).
FILMER, Walter Stephen – Byaduk State School; 22nd Battalion, Rank: Lieutenant; Killed: Bullecourt France, 3 May 1917 aged 24. Tree planted by Miss Vera Greed.
ORD, Thomas Hugh – 6th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Rouen, France, 10 May 1917 aged 25. Tree planted by Williams.
FINNEGAN, Terence – 7th Battalion; Killed in Action: France, 12 May 1916 aged 23. Tree planted by Mr Finnegan.
GREEN, Frank Regis – 60th Battalion. Killed in Action: France 12 May 1917 aged 21. Tree planted by Mr Abraham Greed (uncle of Vera Greed, above)
TULLY, John Luke Victor – St Mary’s Convent school; 5th Battalion; Died of Wounds: France, 19 May 1917 aged 21. Tree planted by Mr J.Lodge, jun.
37. CATTERSON, Robert Henry –14th Battalion; Killed in Action: France, 11 April 1917 aged 39.
38. COOK, George – 6th Field Company Engineers; Accidently Killed: Bancourt, France, 26 June 1917 aged 30. (Also George Cook (5984) of 8th Battalion who returned home)
39. DARK, George Henry – 53rd Battalion. Killed in Action: France, 4 December 1916 aged 25.
40. DUFF, R.*
41. DUNN, Daniel Joseph – 3rd Pioneer Battalion; Killed in Action: Ypres Belgium, 19 October 1917 aged 39.
42. FOLEY, Cornelius Thomas – St Mary’s Convent School; 3rd Australian Field Artillery Brigade; Killed in Action: Belgium, 22 October 1917 aged 23.
43. GIBSON, Victor Robert – 60th Battalion (late 8th Battalion); Killed in Action: Fleurbaix, France, 19 July 1916 aged 23.
44. GORDON, James – No. 1 Company, Australian Machine Corps; Died of Wounds: France, 21 July 1916 aged 36.
45. HAYWARD, Herbert James – Died from illness: Melbourne Victoria, 15 September 1915 aged 19.
46. HERLIHY, George Joseph David – 7th Battalion; Killed in Action: France, 11 April 1918 aged 24.
47. HUDSON, Charles Robert – 23rd Battalion; Died of Wounds: France, 21 April 1917 aged 26.
48. HUGGINS, E. *
49. HARRIS, Leslie Duncan – Hamilton State School; 39th Battalion; Killed in Action: Belgium, 7 June 1917 aged 19.
50. HOPKINS, Clive Boyer – 14th Light Mortar Battery (late 13th Battalion), Rank: Captain; Killed in Action: Fleurbaix, France, 20 July 1916 aged 20.
51. INGRAM, John – 5th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Rouen, France,1 December 1916 aged 47.
52. JACKSON, Walter Henry – Tarrington State School; 6th Battalion; Killed in Action: Ypres Belgium, 20 September 1917 aged 21.
53. JONES, E.H.*
54. JOYCE, E.*
55. JOYCE, Matthew John – 14th Battalion; Killed in Action: France, 11 April 1917 aged 28.
56. JOYCE, Thomas William – 24th Battalion; Died as a result of an accident: France, 1 June 1917 aged 34. (Listed as J.W.Joyce)
57. KEEGAN, Roderick James – 39th Battalion; Died of Disease: England, 20 November 1917 aged 21.
58. KILKELLY, James Patrick – 39th Battalion; Killed in Action: Belgium, 29 May 1917 aged 24.
59. LANCE, George Basil – Hamilton Elementary School; 50th Battalion; Killed in Action: Belgium, 18 October 1917 aged 20.
60. LINDSAY, Charles Henry – 6th Battalion. Killed in Action: Gallipoli Turkey, 8 May 1915 aged 26.
61. LODAN, A. H.*
62. MALONE, M.*
63. MALONE, John Henry – St. Mary’s Convent School; 57th Battalion; Killed in Action: Polygon Wood, Belgium, 26 September 1917 aged 25.
64. MULLANE, Leslie Alexander – 39th Battalion; Killed in Action: Belgium, 12 October 1917 aged 22.
65. McKECKNIE, John Sinclair – Hamilton & Western District Boy’s College; 5th Field Artillery Brigade 5, Battery 15; Died of Wounds: France, 24 July 1917 aged 29.
66. McPHEE, Norman Edward – 14th Battalion Rank: Sergeant; Died of Wounds: Belgium, 27 September 1917 aged 21.
67. McPHEE, John – New Zealand Forces. Killed in Action: France, 7 June 1917 aged 45. (listed as W.McPhee)
68. McSWAIN, John – 39th Battalion; Died of Illness: Ballarat Victoria, 11 April 1916 aged 35.
69. NIVEN, William David – 4th Light Horse Regiment; Died of Wounds: Gallipoli, 5 August 1915 aged 20.
70. NORMAN, William Leslie – 21st Battalion; Killed in Action: Belgium, 8 October 1917 aged 20.
71. OSBORNE, Percy Beaumont – 8th Battalion; Died of Disease: England, 2 February 1917 aged 22.
72. PEACH, William Robert – 24th Battalion; Killed in Action: Belgium, 21 September 1917 aged 37. (Listed as W.P.Peach)
73. RICHIE, George – 14thBattalion; Killed in Action: France, 5 February 1917 aged 23. (Recorded as G.Ritchie)
74. SACK, James – 8th Battalion; Killed in Action: France, 9 November 1916 aged 23.
75. SALTER, Herbert Ernest – 8th Battalion; Killed in Action: Belgium, 5 October 1917 aged 24.
76. SCOTT, Alexander William – 21st Battalion; Died of Wounds: France, 26 August 1916 aged 26.
77. SHARROCK, Charles – 39th Battalion; Killed in Action: Belgium, 8 June 1917 aged 22.
78. SHEEHAN, Albert Edward –14th Battalion D Company; Killed in Action: Gallipoli Turkey, 8 August 1915 aged 21.
79. SLOAN, Joseph – 46th Battalion; Killed in Action: France, 11 April 1917 aged 30.
80. STEVENSON, Edgar Richmond – Hamilton State School; 39th Battalion; Killed in Action: Ypres Belgium, 4 October 1917 aged 22.
81. STEVENSON, Alexander John – Hamilton State School; 39th Battalion Rank: Sergeant; Died of Wounds: Ypres Belgium, 15 October 1917 aged 25.
82. TAYLOR, John Woolhouse – 28th Battalion; Killed in Action: France, 29 July 1916 aged 43.
83. THOMPSON, William Norton – 6th Battalion; Killed in Action: Belgium, 18 September 1917 aged 29. (Listed as W.W.Thompson)
84. TREDREA, Francis Stanley – 21st Battalion; Killed in Action: France, 19 July 1916 aged 25.
85. TRIGGER, Samuel Winifred – 50th Battalion; Killed in Action: France, 16 August 1916 aged 29.
86. WESTGARTH, Leonard Horace – Hamilton State School; 8th Battalion; Killed in Action: Bullecourt France, 12 May 1917 aged 21.
87. WILLIAMS, Clifford Davies – 7th Battalion; Died of Wounds: Belgium, 1 October 1917 aged 25
88. WINNELL, William – 58th Battalion; Died of Wounds: France, 13 March 1917 aged 28.
89. FENTON, John Wilfred – Field Artillery Brigade 4. Rank: Lieutenant; Died of Wounds: France, 19 June 1918 aged 25.
90. WHITE, James Michael – 8th Battalion. Killed in Action: Flers, France, 6 November 1916 aged 23.
91. BAKER, W.*
92. PRIMROSE, Leslie John – No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps. Rank: Lieutenant; Killed in Action: France, 4 June 1917 aged 28.
93. WILLIAMS, Lewis Henry Clifford – 39th Battalion. Died of Wounds: France, 4 August 1917 aged 39.
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 rows of trees growing at Apex Park. But instead of an avenue of Oriental Plane trees intermingled with wattles, Randolph Hughan’s vision, the trees are eucalypts, indicating the original deciduous exotics planted by grieving family and friends and tended by school children, may not have withstood the frost damage in those early years. 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. The trees finish at the Mt. Napier Road bridge, far short of the Portland Road bridge Mr Hughan had intended the trees to reach.
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.
DUFF, R. – A Robert Duff, did live in Hamilton in 1914 according to the Victorian Electoral Roll for the Wannon district. He was a sawyer and his address was c/o Mrs Landers, French Street. From 1906 to 1913 a sawyer Robert Duff lived at Milltown, also in the Wannon district. However he there is no evidence he enlisted. None of the Duffs who enlisted for WW1 have any obvious link to Hamilton.
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 – There is no record of a G.Nelson with Hamilton links to have enlisted.
THOMAS, G.C. – While there were members of the Thomas family living in Hamilton at the time, none with the initials G.C. enlisted.
©Merron Riddiford 2017