Avenue honours WWI fallen

July 19, 2017

Organisers Chris Aldridge and Norm McLarty beside the sign that was unveiled to recognise the commitment to this country during World War I by the servicemen of Northwood.

This plaque recognises the site.

A close up view of the plaque that was unveiled.

Norm McLarty speaks to the gathering before unveiling the new avenue of honour.

On June 30, 1917 at the Northwood State School, pupils, family and friends gathered to plant 14 silky oak trees to form an avenue leading to the school.

The avenue recognised the valued commitment to this country during World War I by the servicemen of Northwood.

Two school children were then allotted to be carers of their respective trees.

Nearly 100 years to the day later, on July 9, a large crowd gathered again to remember those men and re-commemorate the site in their memory.

At the time of the gathering in 1917, one of the past pupils of Northwood, Herbert Baker, had already been killed in action at Gallipoli.

Donald Kerris had also been killed on the Western Front and William Hutchinson, another past pupil from the school, would also be killed four months later at Beersheba.

Only three of the original 14 silky oak trees remain today.

Six small silky oak seedlings were found in the school grounds and were planted along the avenue, along with four newly purchased plants.

The service was attended by Major Adam White and Warrant officer 2 Reece Hay from the Puckapunyal Army Base.

Re-enactor Michael Whitehead also attended dressed in World War I trooper attire.

Major White read a speech based on the original speech given at the unveiling of the Northwood Honour Roll in 1917.

Warrant Officer Reece Hay then read out the names of the 14 men and delivered the ode.

A plaque and a sign were also unveiled by life-long Northwood resident Norm McLarty.

Ancestors of Mr McLarty would have been among those that attended the 1917 gathering.

— Chris Aldridge

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