Arbor Day, 19th July 1917, was celebrated with the planting of 63 trees – Golden Wattles and Golden Cypresses commemorating WW1 soldiers from the district, for their service and sacrifice.
A week earlier, a working bee had been held, to clear, fence and prepare this two acre central block in Miners Rest for the planting of these living memorials, to perpetuate the memory of the young men from the district who “took on the burden of Empire and went forth to battle”. The then Shire of Ballarat supplied all the trees and fencing material.
Following the end of the First World War, the residents of Miners Rest erected a “handsome granite cenotaph to stand in memory of the 24 soldiers who died.”
The memorial was unveiled in the presence of Sir Alexander Peacock, three times Premier of Victoria, and other dignitaries.
Unveiling of the Miners Rest Soldiers’ Memorial –23rd May 1920
“The monument is of Harcourt colonial granite, with bronze face plates and contains the names of twenty-four soldiers of the district who made the supreme sacrifice, was designed by the well-known sculptor, Mr FW. Commons, and the work executed by returned soldiers employed at his work, Creswick Road, Ballarat.”
Image courtesy of the Learmonth & District Historical Society’s collection.
The Miners Rest and District Lions Club contacted the City of Ballarat in 2013 regarding the health of the trees and the location of the cenotaph. The old trees were removed in August and a community tree-planting day was held in September.
The cenotaph was removed by Council in November, restored and then relocated to its present position. On Sunday, 1st June 2014 a re-dedication ceremony for the Soldiers® War Memorial was conducted.
as well as new plaques commemorating the sacrifice of those serving during WW2
The Miners Rest and District Lions Club with the support of the City of Ballarat, the RSL and community groups, successfully applied for a “Restoring War Memorials and Avenues of Honour” grant in 2015 to replace name plaques and signage. These works were completed in time for ANZAC Day 2016.
In 2023 the 24 replacement, commemorative, Sawtooth Oak trees (Quercus acutissima) with their Chestnut-like foliage, are well-established and well-suited to perpetuate Miners Rest’s living memorial.