Gipps Street Memorial and the

Avenue of Honour 1914 - 1918 War

 

Gipps Street - Tamworth

Gipps Street Memorial

On Remembrance Day 1967 the Tamworth RSL Sub-Branch unveiled a memorial plaque on the site. It was erected because of concern that the Avenue of Honour was not receiving the recognition that it warranted. The inscription reads:

This memorial is erected by the Tamworth Branch of the RSL in memory
of those men and women of the Commonwealth who suffered and died
for their country. LEST WE FORGET.
Unveiled and dedicated 11.11.1967

At the same time that the plaque was erected, a plain notice board was placed at the Ebsworth Street end of the Avenue stating:

Gipps Street
Avenue of Honor (sic)
1914-1918 War Memorial
Erected near Belmore Street

As reported in the Northern Daily Leader on 13th November 1967, the memorial was unveiled by the Minister for Repatriation, Senator GC McKellar, ‘in a simple but impressive ceremony’ held on the afternoon of Saturday 11th November.

Representatives of many walks of life, Local Government, the clergy, the RSL and kindred bodies and local citizens attended the unveiling. President of the RSL, Mr. VM Quinn, past-President Mr. AJ O’Brien and the Mayor of Tamworth Alderman SJ Cole welcomed the many visitors.

Avenue of Honour 1914 - 1918 War

On Tuesday the 30th of July 1918, Mrs M Britz (West Tamworth Girls Club - Women War Workers Association) wrote to the Tamworth Council seeking permission to plant an Avenue of Honor in memory of West Tamworth soldiers. The request was deferred by the council until the Parks Committee report was considered.

On Tuesday the 13th of August 1918 the Tamworth Council debated the concept of the Avenue of Honor for West Tamworth. They were guided by a report that had concerns for the survival of trees due to the poor soil and wanted to relocate the idea to Belmore Park as it had a reliable supply of water. If either proposal was agreed by council, it agreed to supply any assistance required to erect the trees. The majority of councillors agreed on the original proposal and Gipps Street was granted.

The Women War Workers Association invited prominent men as honoured guests to the event as well as local school children to march in a procession with the returned soldiers, as well as mothers and wives of non returned soldiers. At the same time, various sub committees dug the holes required for many trees and built many tree guards.

On Wednesday the 18th of September 1918 Alderman Bourne, Mayor of Tamworth, had the honour of planting the first of many trees on that day. All the other trees were planted by the mothers and boys from the West. The route of the procession was along Ebsworth Street up Gipps Street to the current day Monument site. It was led by returned soldiers, mothers of soldiers, The Model Band, The Tamworth Band and the school children of West Tamworth and Westdale public schools.

On the Friday the 20th of September 1918 at the West Tamworth Public School, the West Tamworth Voluntary Workers Association was formed to help continue fund raising and maintenance of the Avenue. Their Patrons were Lt Col Abbott MHR and Lt Chaffey MLA, President Mr H Fleming, Hon Secretary Mr J Kearns, Hon Treasurers Messrs A C McLeod and E A Briley.

Mrs Britz continued to guide and organise many fundraisers such as Avenue of Honour Post Cards, available for sale at Green's Book Exchange. The Tamworth Jockey Club also assisted with a large donation to purchase another 100 trees.

At the next Tamworth Council meeting the Ready Helpers Association (formally Tamworth Girls Association) were keeping them to their word and managed to request assistance in the form of a large amount of wire for the erection of the tree guards.

The trees on all Avenues of Honor across Australia were always chosen for sentimental reasons. The choice of trees was to symbolise or embody the memories of home and abroad where their loved ones lay in peace and other local feelings prevalent at the time. Many of the original trees may still exist and subsequently disproved the council's fears that the soil was too poor for the trees to survive.

Many believe that the trees in our Memorial Avenues symbolise soldiers guarding the honoured ground.

(research provided by Mr. Paul Fleming is gratefully acknowledged)

 

"Lest We Forget"

 

 

 

Further information is available at the following links

Monument Australia

 

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