On Friday 7 June, a small ceremony was held at the Port Arthur Historic Site to plant the last four macrocarpa trees that completed the first stage of a ten year renewal plan for the Soldiers Memorial Avenue. The trees were planted by the Chair of the PAHSMA Board, Professor Sharon Sullivan, the President of the Tasman Sub-Branch of the RSL, Gary Alexander, the Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Brian Wightman, and the Mayor of Tasman Council, Jan Barwick.
The first stage of the renewal plan involved the removal of 14 macrocarpa trees from the western end of the Avenue. The trunks of these trees have been salvaged for use in appropriate community projects. Some logs have been donated to the Dunalley School for use as playground furniture, and some other logs have been supplied to the Eaglehawk Neck Action Community Taskforce (ENACT) for the construction of picnic tables and benches. Logs will also be provided to the Dunalley Hall and Reserves Association for use in the rebuilding of the Dunalley Community Hall, which will include a dedicated room to be used by the Dunalley RSL, and a sculpture set in a memorial garden. Another project that may utilise some of the timber from the Avenue trees is the Dunalley School boat building project, as well as several others.
After the removal of the trees and their stumps, drainage improvements were made to the area, and soil conditioners incorporated into the planting holes for the replacement trees. In all, 23 trees have been replanted and gaps in the Avenue where trees were removed in the past have now been filled. It is intended that the next block of trees will be removed and replanted in 5 years time, and the final block 5 years after that.
PAHSMA’s next project is to work with Tasman RSL and the local community to ensure the Soldiers Memorial Avenue can be included in some way in the upcoming Centenary of ANZAC commemorations.