The Rock’s Avenue of Honour was established in 1918, to commemorate the WW1 service and sacrifice of soldiers from the district.
Located in the median strip of Urana Street in the centre of the township, the Avenue originally comprised Silky Oaks (Grevillea robusta). Each tree had a soldier’s name attached.
A SPLENDID EXAMPLE By Residents Of The Rock.
AVENUE OF HONOUR Dedicated To Soldiers.
The Rock, a small town of 700 people 20 miles south of Wagga, is the centre of a large wheat and wool growing district. It has sent 100 of its young men to the fighting lines in France and Egypt; it has contributed over £3000 to the various patriotic appeals; and it has planted an avenue of trees in honour of its soldiers. The avenue is the first of its kind in the Riverina. Others are being laid out in various parts of Australia.
URANA STREET, the site of The Rock Avenue, is three chain wide, and in days gone by was used as a travelling stock route. The great, width lends itself to the scheme that has just been completed. Some 53 feet is occupied in width for the avenue taking up the middle of the street, and on either side is a 40 feet road to carry vehicular traffic. The avenue is divided into three sections of 6 1/2 chains, securely fenced, as shown in the illustrations. Each section contains 30 trees, each of which is dedicated to the honour of a district soldier. The material used for the fence is the best dressed red gum and pine. To raise the level of the site and to improve the soil that had formed the road for many years, 760 loads of loam were carted and applied after the ploughing and harrowing had been completed.
The whole of the work — ploughing, harrowing, loaming, fencing and painting was done by voluntary labour by means of organised working-bees, and its value is estimated at £200. The cost of the material was £150. So that the approximate value of the avenue is £350. Over £300 has been subscribed to date, and it is intended to extend the avenue in the near future and to erect a monu ment, to the memory of the fallen. The dedication ceremony took place on 24th July in the presence of many people of the district. Among the visitors way Mr. E. E. Collins Mayor of Wagga. The planting operations occupied only a few minutes. At a given signal each of the 30 trees was placed in a prepared hole by a lady. The president of the scheme is Mr. B. D. Bonners the secretary, Mr. F. W. Alldis; and the treasurer. Mr. A. W. Paige.
Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 – 1938), Wednesday 28 August 1918, page 17
AVENUE OF HONOUR.
The ceremony of planting an Avenue of Honour to soldiers enlisted from The Rock district took place on Wednesday afternoon last in the presence of a large gathering. Three sections of the main street had been selected and enclosed with a beautiful white fence and prepared for planting by voluntary labour, Mr. Hore, of Dalgety and Co., having commandeered Mr Arnolds hat, put it up to auction and it realised the handsome sum of £68 pounds. From the above it will be seen that Corowa’s avenue was not the first to be planted in the State, as was mentioned by speakers at the local ceremony. Honours to the distinction will now have to be divided with The Rock.
Corowa Free Press (NSW : 1875 – 1954), Tuesday 30 July 1918, page 2
Over time the plaques disappeared, as did the trees. But the memory of the soldiers continued to be honoured with replacement Kurrajong trees (Brachychiton populneus).
Of these Kurrajongs, currently there are 70 living memorial trees (55 original replacement plantings and 15 more recent replacements). 5 dead trunks/stumps remain in situ.