Heritage Reawakened

Posted on 1 December 2019
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The original Tambo Upper Avenue of Honour comprised of six flowering gums that were planted in the 1920s, in memory of six soldiers from Tambo Upper who lost their lives in the First World War. At the foot of each tree was a plaque bearing the name, unit and date and place of death of the soldier to whom it was dedicated. Over the years all but one of the trees died. Five of the plaques were saved and were later, mounted on a wooden shield and placed in the community hall. The sixth plaque was carried away in a flood, so a hand-painted one, showing only the soldier’s name and rank, but not where and when he died, was added to the shield in its place.

In 1997 the teachers and pupils at the school set about re-establishing a connection with Tambo Upper's First World War heritage. With the help of the local RSL club, six new flowering gums, each with a name plaque, were planted along the driveway to the community hall. Thus, on Remembrance Day that year, the community was once again able to gather at Tambo Upper's Avenue of Honour. For the first time in many years, members of the community, along with the pupils and teachers of Tambo Upper Primary School, came together to remember the six men from the district who had given their lives in the service of their nation:

5148 Sergeant Hugh Ross, of the 38th Australian Infantry Battalion, died of wounds at Passchendaele on the 14th of October 1917. His name can also be found on the War Memorial at Bruthen.

1876 Corporal John McMeekin, of the 59th Australian Infantry Battalion died of wounds at Peronne, in France, on the 1st of September 1918, just two months before the war’s end.

961 Trooper John Stone, of the 4th Light Horse Regiment, was the man whose original plaque was lost in a flood. He served at Gallipoli, where he was wounded, before eventually being returned to Australia with severe illness. Although he recovered from that illness, he subsequently contracted Tuberculosis and died on the 25th of May 1917.

500 Private Alfred Ernest Laurent, of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion, died of wounds near Armentieres, France, on the 9th of December 1916.

1955 Private Andrew Buckham Davidson Neal, of the 24th Australian Infantry Battalion, died in France on the 29th of July 1916. His name is on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in France.

10392 Gunner Frederick Biggs, of the 4th Australian Infantry Battalion was 42 years old when he was killed in action at Ypres, Belgium, on the 16th of October 1917.

Some of the community's research and memorabilia from the descendants of the six soldiers is now preserved at the school and in the community hall.

Future generations of students at Tambo Upper will be able to see evidence of the sacrifices made during the Great War by previous students from their school.



AWM website

Victorian Heritage Council