A significant part of Ballarat's history is ever-changing, with the Avenue of Honour annual tree renewal plantings commencing in the first week of September.
President of the Arch of Victory and Avenue of Honour Committee Garry Snowden says the age of trees, severe weather events and vehicle damage mean every year, following arborist assessments, a number of trees are replaced.
"This year 68 trees are scheduled for replanting; among those are trees that act as memorials to 18 men who lost their lives on the First World War battlefields, Mr Snowden says.
"Interestingly, nine of those men have no known grave, so their tree and plaque in our Avenue are perhaps the closest thing they have to a personalised or named headstone. Our national memorials at places like Villers-Bretonneux and VC Corner in France and Lone Pine at Gallipoli, plus the imposing Menin Gate in Belgium, carry the names of thousands of men who still lie under foreign battlefields, but our Avenue of Honour provides a personal memorial to each of our men."
One soldier whose tree will be replanted is Frederick Rawlings, killed in an ill-fated charge at Fromelles in July 1916. His body was lost for 90 years until amateur researchers discovered burial pits on the edge of Pheasant Wood near the battle site. A DNA matching program led to the identification and reburial of more than 200 Australians killed at Fromelles; among them Rawlings, who now lies under his headstone in the Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery.
AIF dead with a known grave whose trees will be replanted: Victor Jolly, killed in France August 31, 1918, Patrick Maher (25/3/19 England), Harold Dixon (23/1/16 Egypt), Samuel Martin (1/9/16 France), Lewis Mudie MM (13/10/17 Belgium), Joseph Quinlan (12/7/18 France), Donald Chisolm (2/9/15 Gallipoli, 'Southland'), Thomas Lakeland (10/9/1915 Gallipoli) and Frederick Rawlings (20/7/16 France).
Those with no known grave: Frank Stephens (4/10/17 Belgium), Owen Eason (29/8/16 France), Frederick Harris (11/4/17 France), Horace Lucas (19/7/16 France), Victor Lepp (26/8/16 France), Richard Kincade (20/9/17 Belgium), Samuel Brew (16/8/18 France), Albert King (13/11/17 Palestine) and Everett Rickard (3/5/17 France).
Once the tree planting is completed, 90 commemorative plaques will be re-installed in the Avenue.