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Tas That Was ― The Soldier’s Memorial Avenue

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The Soldier’s Memorial Avenue is an avenue of trees commemorating Tasmanian soldiers who died in World War One.

The Soldier’s Memorial Avenue, located on the Queens Domain, is an avenue of approximately 359 trees (originally 535) commemorating Tasmanian soldiers who died in World War One.

History

In 1917, the Returned Soldiers Association came up with the idea of creating an avenue of trees in honour of the Tasmanian soldiers who died in World War One. It gained the support of the Hobart City Council Reserves Committee, and the Queens Domain was chosen as the site of the avenue. In 1918, a large number of Tasmanians took part in the planting of around 390 trees on the Queens Domain. Its central pathway was laid by unemployed and disabled soldiers. 120 more trees were added between 1919 and 1920.

A water pipe was laid along the Avenue in 1922. Taps were connected to the pipe at regular intervals to allow the trees to be watered. Thieves stole the taps, however, so the Hobart City Council restricted their use to certain times of the year. The taps were later permanently removed, the Council promising that the trees would be watered regularly in summer. This basic maintenance eventually ceased, though it is not clear why.

In 1926, the Avenue was connected to the Cenotaph precinct. Most of the trees that were planted unfortunately disappeared in redevelopments that took place in the 1950s and ‘60s.

The Avenue fell into disrepair by 1929. A campaign was held to raise money for the necessary improvements and maintenance, but only a small amount was gathered. In the 1930s, an unemployment relief program saw the central pathway restored. The Reserves Committee also replaced the original metal-faced name boards with galvanised iron plaques. The original timber tree guards were removed by the 1960s.

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Eighty of the Avenue’s trees were bulldozed in 1960 to allow for the construction a temporary rubbish tip. The current sports grounds were later built on the site of the tip.

Several other trees were felled when the Tasman Highway and the Aquatic Centre were constructed.

The Avenue was also affected by wildfires and burn-offs due to insufficient protection.

It was renamed ‘Soldiers Walk’ during the 1980s, and many of the galvanised iron plaques were removed.

Today

The Soldier’s Memorial Avenue is seen as an important element in the commemoration of Tasmanian soldiers who were killed in World War One.

Recent attempts to restore it have stirred a lot of interest and support.

In 2002, the Friends of Soldiers Memorial Avenue group was established to promote the Avenue’s restoration and preservation.

The Avenue celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary in August 2018.

Types of trees

The Avenue’s original trees were a mixture of Cedrus deodar, Cedrus alantica, and Cedrus atlantica glauca.

It now includes:

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Source: Tasmanian Times https://www.tasmaniantimes.com/2021/04/tas-that-was-%E2%80%95-the-soldiers-memorial-avenue/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tas-that-was-%25e2%2580%2595-the-soldiers-memorial-avenue

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