Avenue of Trees
Letter from the Rose Park Improvement Association to Burnside Council, 1918
In 1918, a group of men who appointed themselves the "Rose Park Improvement Association" pledged £200 towards the planting of trees throughout the area, and in July 19th 1919 was set aside for "Official Peace Day Celebrations", and a ceremony was held on a dais at the junction of the streets. Plaques were affixed to the trees to remember the fallen - it is unknown, in the present day, how an 'association' to the area was declared, but records suggest that those on the roll were either born, schooled or worked in the Burnside area.
The choice of trees as a memorial is particularly poignant - a living, evergreen memorial that must be maintained by those that come after.
"An impressive ceremony took place on July 19 (1919), at Rose Park, when Soldiers' Memorial avenues were planted at Alexandra Avenue and Prescott Terrace in the presence of a large company of spectators, in honor of the soldiers who enlisted from the Burnside district, with a special tree to each of the men who fell. The chairman of the Burnside District Council (Councillor J. A. Harper) presided. His Excellency the Governor was received by the chairman and other members of the council, a guard of honour being formed by the 1st Troop Rose Park Boy Scouts. Selections were played by the Rose Park School Band.
Mr. F Johns (secretary of the Memorial Committee) announced that he had had handed to him 70 patriotic emblems, bearing devices of the Allied nations, which were to be given to the relatives who planted trees that day in memory of the fallen.
They had been presented by Mesdames Leon and Mouchette and were intended as souvenirs of the occasion. Chaplain Rev. G. W. Kendrew offered the dedicatory prayer.
His Excellency planted the first tree, and the Premier, the chairman of the District Council, the Chairman of the Improvement Association, and Colonel Price Weir, D.S.O. also planted trees. Relatives of the fallen men followed, and Troop-leader Albert Ind sounded 'The Last Post.' About 80 men from the district have fallen.
Chronicle (Adelaide), 26th July 1919.
Alexandra Avenue and Prescott Terrace are thoroughfares divided by a plantation of lawn and trees. On either side, at each crossroad of Alexandra Avenue (Webb Street, Victoria Terrace and Close Street) and Prescott Terrace (Hewitt Street and Watson Street) is a bronze plaque affixed to a granite boulder giving the names of those Burnside and District soldiers who were killed in WW1.
The iconic statue, 'Helping Hand', was commissioned in 1920 and unveiled in 1924 to much local fanfare. The soldier in the statue reaches back to help a friend, referencing the spirit of mateship that has become so associated with Australian forces in the First World War. The names at the base of each of the 87 trees correspond to the names of the Fallen commemorated on the magnificent memorial topped by the bronze sculpture of an infantry soldier. Each of 87 trees is dedicated to one of those soldiers. In 1955 several trees were cut down and removed for street widening, new trees were planted when the road alterations were completed.
In 2022 a further 22 names of men born or raised in Burnside were added in a separate grove of trees at the western end of Alexandra Avenue, having been researched by a volunteer group working under the auspices of the Burnside Council.