THE KONGWAK Community Group has secured a $22,500 State Government grant to rejuvenate the Avenue of Honour along Korumburra-Wonthaggi Road.
The avenue spans roughly 1km through the centre of Kongwak, and includes a memorial plaque listing the names of 26 locals who served in the First World War and 60 locals who served in the Second World War, for whom trees were planted in 1946.
The Community Group says the trees, a mixture of exotics and natives, have been neglected for many years, and that many of the trees are reaching the end of their lives. Other trees and weeds have popped up over the years that aren’t meant to be there, and one end of the avenue is so unkempt “you wouldn’t even know it was there”.
“It’s not doing justice to the memory of those who served in the wars – those who gave their lives and those who returned – as it should,” community group member Sue Mooney said.
“And this road is a gateway to South Gippsland. Other communities have made a feature of their Avenues of Honour.
“We want to rejuvenate it and beautify the township by maintaining and pruning the trees of significance and getting rid of the weeds and dying trees.”
Community group president Bill Brown said the project was also about preserving the memorial for future generations.
“We want to ensure the memory is not lost, and make sure it’s there for the future so the community can continue to respect the fallen,” he said.
The group has been consulting an arborist who specialises in heritage trees to decide which trees to preserve and which to replace, based on aesthetics and longevity.
The ‘Restoring Community War Memorials and Avenues of Honour Grant’ must be spent within the year and the group expects to have made significant progress by August.
South Gippsland Shire Council will assist with ground work and traffic control throughout the project and the group plans to hold a community celebration when the project is complete.