Australia’s most decorated female army officer and former Ballarat resident Major General, Simone Wilkie, AM officially opened the re-created Arthur Kenny Avenue of Honour on Monday.
The opening was held exactly 98 years after Governor General of the time, Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson planted the first tree to recognise the service of Ballarat Orphanage residents during World War One.
The re-creation of the Avenue was driven by Child and Family Services Ballarat, in conjunction with the City of Ballarat, Ballarat Historical Society, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Ballarat RSL sub-branch and the Mount Xavier Golf Club.
The original memorial was the vision of Arthur Kenny, who was superintendent of Ballarat Orphanage during World War One.
Maj Gen Wilkie said the new Avenue would stand as a permanent reminder to the service and sacrifice of Ballarat Orphanage men who willingly gave so much.
“The new Avenue of Honour is a fine edition to Ballarat’s long list of impressive war memorials, including the Avenue of Honour and Arch of Victory in Alfredton, the Australian ex-POW Memorial and the monuments along Sturt Street,” she said.
“In leaving our shore and serving our country with honour they demonstrated the best of Australian military values. They displayed courage and resilience.
“The service and sacrifice of the former orphanage residents is an important part of Ballarat’s World War One heritage.
“About 4000 men signed up from this region to go to war and 800 gave their lives. Even before the war finished the Ballarat community realised it needed to honour the contribution of everyone who served.
“Arthur Kenny recognised that there should be a special place to honour the service of former orphanage boys.”
Among the large crowd of dignitaries that braved the cold for Monday’s ceremony at the Fortune Street site were some descendants of the Ballarat Orphanage residents that served.
CAFS is now seeking private and corporate sponsorship for Algerian Oak trees and commemorative plaques to complete the re-creation.