Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue

Restoration of the Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue

The vision is for an ambitious restoration of the Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue as a memorial to all servicemen from the Goulburn Valley who fell during World War II and to acknowledge the growing role of the Memorial Avenue as a key environmental corridor linking the major river systems traversing the City of Greater Shepparton.

Significance of the Avenue

The Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue is Australia’s longest eucalypt memorial avenue, spanning almost 20 kilometres and including over 2,400 native trees commemorating all those who served in World War II from Shepparton and surrounding areas. It is an easily identifiable landmark comprising of double-row, equally spaced trees on each side of the Goulburn Valley Highway from Seven Creeks to the Murchison-Violet Town Road. The Avenue is included in the Victorian Heritage Register for its historic, aesthetic and social significance to the state of Victoria.

 

History

After training with the Empire Air Scheme in 1941, local farmer Calder Woodburn served with the RAF. In 1942 his Hampden bomber aircraft and crew were lost when returning from a night mission over the coast of France. His father, Mr James Louis Fenton (Fen) Woodburn, wanted to develop an avenue in honour of the fallen. Mr Woodburn planted the memorial avenue between 1946-1949 in consultation with the Country Roads Board, the local RSL branch and two local shires. After consultation with families of deceased serviceman, name plates were commissioned and installed, marking the tree of each fallen man.

Rest Area and the RSL Monument

The Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue rest area is located adjacent to the Calder Woodburn Rest Area approximately 20 kilometres south of Shepparton. The feature RSL monument explains the Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue and bears the names of all local servicemen who lost their lives in World War II.

Condition

The integrity of the Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue has suffered in recent years for a variety of reasons: the drought in the early 2000s, a lack of awareness of its significance, inappropriate garden plantings in the road reserve to the front of houses, significant regrowth of vegetation, the removal of some trees and ad hoc maintenance. Given this gradual deterioration in integrity over time, conservation works are urgently needed.

To conserve and enhance the Memorial Avenue, Council formed the Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue Advisory Committee (the Committee) in 2017 to:

  • investigate possible means of funding the restoration of the Memorial Avenue;
  • disseminate information about its significance to land owners along the Memorial Avenue and the wider community; and
  • enhance and conserve the heritage and environmental significance of the Memorial Avenue.

The Committee comprises key stakeholders including Council, Heritage Victoria, Shepparton RSL, Strathbogie Shire Council, VicRoads and community representatives. The Committee is proposing an ambitious restoration of the Memorial Avenue.

Next Steps

In order to raise local awareness of the Memorial Avenue, the Committee has prepared an informative pamphlet to circulate to all stakeholders and land owners directly abutting and adjacent to the Memorial Avenue.

Council and VicRoads are preparing an addendum to the Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue Conservation Management Plan 2001, which will update existing conservation and management strategies to better understand the form that future restoration works can take place. It is envisaged that future conservation works would be funded via grant programs on an annual basis concentrating on the restoration of sections of the Memorial Avenue.


For further information contact the Building and Planning Department at Greater Shepparton City Council on (03) 5832 9700, or email council@shepparton.vic.gov.au