FOR almost 20 years one particular stretch of Ballarat’s Avenue of Honour has stood forgotten, isolated from the rest of the memorial.
However, a strong push is now being mounted to see it finally reconnected to the main section of the avenue.
Although it is considered to be part of the Avenue of Honour, a five-kilometre stretch on the northern side of the historic memorial near Burrumbeet has been cut off from the remainder of the avenue since 1993.
Separated by the Ararat rail line, when the Western Highway Bypass was completed almost 20 years ago, it has become the forgotten stretch of the avenue.
The Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour committee has been pushing for some time for the road to be re-opened, to enable people to travel the entire journey of the 22-kilometre memorial without taking the mandatory detour.
Now Ballarat MP Catherine King has joined the push.
Ms King is calling for $1 million to complete the project.
The project would involve developing a level crossing across the rail line, and boom gates installed for traffic to flow continuously along the avenue.
Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour committee president Bruce Price said if it went ahead, the project would restore “true integrity” to the national icon.
“This is the forgotten stretch of the avenue that people often don’t know about,” Mr Price said. “It’s extremely important it is restored and returned to what it once was.”
Of the 3800 trees along the avenue in honour of people who enlisted, 800 are separated by the rail line.
There are also 26 trees that still sit where the old road used to flow, what Mr Price described as a “no-mans land”.
Ms King said she had met with Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese to appeal for funding, and would lobby Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder to approve the changes.
“This avenue is an extremely important memorial for the people of Ballarat and I can fully understand the desire to restore it so people can drive along its full length,” she said.