Ross Creek's Avenue of Honour is set to receive a facelift ahead of its centenary next year.
The Ross Creek History Group and senior classes from Woady Yaloak Primary School’s Ross Creek campus are working on a project to rejuvenate the forgotten avenue and learn more about its fallen soldiers.
Just two of the 20 original trees remain outside the school along Sebastopol-Smythesdale Rd.
The names of the soldiers are printed on an honour board inside the Ross Creek Recreation Centre but little is known about the men behind the names – except one who died almost exactly 100 years ago.
October 1 marked the centenary of the death of Private James Morrissey at Zonnebeke Ridge, Belgium. He was just 22 and the oldest son of Michael and Margaret Morrissey of Ross Creek. He has no known grave.
In memory of their son, the family donated a piece of land to the community adjacent to the Ross Creek Recreation Reserve and a memorial board “For King and Country” was created.
The Ross Creek Avenue of Honour officially opened in August 1918, and will be replanted and commemorated on its centenary on August 18, 2018, after the history group received Victorian Government and Victorian Veterans Council funding.
“We received the grant to restore the avenue which has really been forgotten. It hasn’t had any notice taken for a long time,” said Ross Creek History Group’s Rosemary Barnett.
Pupils from grade five and six will work in pairs to research the history and fate of soldiers named along the Avenue of Honour, with help from teachers and local historians, and their research and stories will be published in a book to be available as part of the centenary.
“These soldiers came from a wide area around but all had a connection to Ross Creek – they were from here, worked here or their parents were from here,” Ms Barnett said.
Ms Barnett appealed to the descendants and relatives of WWI soldiers on the memorial board to contact them with information and photographs ahead of the centenary commemoration.
“We are very short of facts about them and would love to hear from their descendants with any information or stories about these men,” she said.
The names are: W Stanley Bray, Andrew G Brown, George W Ellsworth, Percy L Ellsworth, M Louis Green, Thomas A Green, William R Hally, Patrick Holmes, A David James, James Morrissey, Albert J Smith, John Tierney, Christopher W Tudor, Hector H Tudor, Albert V Watson, James M Watson, Henry Williams, William Williams and W Williams.
Anyone with information can call 0439 506 494.