Through the determined efforts of Ed Williams, the Lysterfield Avenue of Honour has been re-established.
About 200 people gathered in very hot conditions on Saturday 25th February 1995 to witness the unveiling ceremony held on the site of the Lysterfield Avenue of Honour in Lysterfield Road. Thanks to the hard work of Wantirna resident and WW2 veteran Ed Williams, the previously neglected area had been restored, new trees planted and a plaque prepared and set on a five tonne boulder. The plaque incorporates the rising sun badge, beneath which are the words:
This stone is dedicated to all the service personnel from this district who served in the following wars. 1939-45 Vietnam Korea. Lest we forget.
Following a welcome by the President of the Knox Historical Society, Peter Maley, a military honour party and band led by mounted members of the Victorian Light Horse Ceremonial Regiment took up their positions at the memorial stone.
Senior Military Chaplain, Peter Woodward, dedicated the memorial after which the Vice President of the R.S.L., Brigadier Keith Rossi, laid a wreath. Other dignitaries and members of the local R.S.L. branches also laid wreaths at the base of the memorial. The solemn ceremony concluded with the Last Post, a minute’s silence and Reveille.
Since that day Ed Williams has completed arrangements for the production of another plaque to be mounted on the memorial stone. This plaque will bear the names of local men who served in the armed forces during WW2. The names are derived from records made available by Lysterfield historian, Mrs Heather Ronald. Mrs Ronald is the daughter of the late Cr Violet Lambert who was instrumental in the establishment of the Rowville Fire Brigade in 1942. Cr Lambert’s father, Gus Powell, had established the original Avenue of Honour in 1919 at his own expense, providing all the trees, tree guards and individual plaques.
In providing the list of names of the local men who served in the armed forces during WW2, Mrs Ronald writes:
“This list was taken from the files of the Lysterfield & Rowville United Services Association, a district group working to send comforts to the men – gifts when they had their final leave – and gifts to those who returned. Regular canteen orders were sent to those whose addresses were sufficient. Meetings of this organisation used to be held in the Lysterfield Hall. There was a sum of money in their bank account at the end of the war and it was intended to use this to go towards the erection of a memorial obelisk at the junction of Wellington and Kelletts Roads in front of the Hall. The Repatriation Department would not approve of this and the money was then presumably forwarded to that body.”
The Seventeen WW2 Veterans
Ed Williams sent the list on to the Australian Army for checking and what follows is a composite of interesting details from both sets of records.
|Sergeant||William Charles Albert Stokie||2/3 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment|
|Private||Angus Donald Munro||2/6 Battalion
(Angus had been born in Canada. He was a P.O.W.)
|Private||Humphrey Patrick Desmond||2/7 Battalion|
|Sapper||Alfred James Cavill||2/2 Field Company|
|Private||Jack Stewart Taylor||14/32 Battalion|
|Private||James Henry Tomkins||2/24 Battalion (James was a P.O.W.)|
|Corporal||Benjamin Field||2/8 Battalion|
|Driver||Douglas Thomas Dobson||2/6 Company Australian Army Service Corps.|
|Private||Francis Lewis Matters (or Mather)||2/6 Battalion 1st Machine Gun Battery (Francis was a P.O.W.)|
|Private||Vincent Kavanagh||2/22 Battalion (Vincent was killed in action in Rabaul.)|
|Private||George James Smith||2/12 Battalion|
|Gunner||Francis Wright Power||2/8 Field Regiment|
|Private||John Allan Beckett||2/6 Battalion|
|Lance Corporal||Harry Allen Conduit||2/23 Battalion|
|Private||Alfred Eames||2/23 Battalion (Alfred was born in New Barnet, England.)|
|Private||Herbert Welch (or Welsh)||Australian Army Service Corps. (Herbert was born in Belfast, Ireland.)|
The above were all army personnel. The only non-army man was a sailor.
|Petty Officer||G.G. Reynolds||H.M.A.S. Benalla|
I’d like to be put in touch with any of the above men who are still living (or with their relatives) as I would like to have the opportunity of recording their stories. Some of you will recognise, for example, the name of Doug Dobson whose wartime experiences were referred to briefly in the article “Growing up with Anne Dobson”, published in the News in April 1995. Please call me on 5428 2795 if you can help.