The history of “The Nursery” by Paul Jenkins
In mid 1996 the Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour committee developed a Management Strategy Plan
The consultants of the day found that of the 3,800 trees in the Avenue 400 were missing and 55% of the balance could be dead by 2030
Many plaques were found to be missing or damaged
A subcommittee under the Late Peter Heinz was set up to raise funds to replace most of the 3,000 trees between the Arch of Victory and the Western Highway bypass by 2020
The 800 trees north of the Western Highway bypass and adjacent railway line were found to have a proposed much longer life because of the better soil and less traffic and should last longer than 2030
At about the same time a member of the Rotary Club of Ballarat South raised the matter of the condition of the Avenue and just how it looked shabby and the club should do something about it.
The Rotary Club of Ballarat South appointed a representative to assist the committee and the club also contributed funds to the appeal
Flemings Nursery from Monbulk heard about the project and offered to donate the young trees and continue to contribute 15 years later
Initially the young trees were raised in a commercial nursery but this proved to be rather expensive
Ballarat Regional Industries offered to make land available at their Creswick nursery to set up our own nursery on that site
The Rotary Club of Ballarat South supported by other Rotarians set up the nursery and assisted with weeding, potting and general upkeep.
The lease of the main nursery was taken over by The Wool Factory Ltd. followed by Seeding Victoria and then Parks Victoria closed the nursery down.
The Rotary Club of Ballarat South approached Principal John Burt to see if a nursery could be established on the School Farm site. Following his enthusiastic answer an MOA was drawn up between The Ballarat Specialist School and the Rotary Club of Ballarat South Inc. and signed by representatives of both parties.
The Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour committee offered to pay for the materials required and Rotary offered to build the nursery
After several working bees with Rotarians working in the “Hot, cold, wet and dry” the new nursery was created ready for the young trees transferred from Creswick
A new automatic sprinkler system has been installed and the trees are now at home in their new nursery
It is intended that the students and staff from the Specialist School will tend the young trees with support from Rotary and the Ballarat City Council staff
The whole project has been constructed with the cooperation of the Ballarat City Council, Ballarat Specialist School, The Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee, The Civil Con-tractors Association-Ballarat Branch and The Rotary Club of Ballarat South
A recent survey of the bronze plaques found that most have now been either repaired or replaced and it is interesting to note that quite often flowers or even a lone poppy have been placed on plaques along the total length of the Avenue of Honour
And may the Avenue live long into the future.
Video of the Opening Ceremony