Thursday, December 14, 2017

Milton Memorial Avenues of Trees

The RSL movement was well established in Milton Ulladulla when the land for the town memorial was officially subdivided on 20 February 1922 with Ulladulla Council as trustees.

Also in early 1922 the local Soldiers Memorial committee requested a memorial avenue of trees from Stoney Hill down to the memorial site, which council decided to give the matter consideration at a later date. The unveiling of Milton’s Memorial was on the May 5 1923.

The approval for the memorial avenue of tress was eventually granted in September 1926 with many of the trees being replanted in 1928. (source: Ulladulla Council minutes).

However a different date for the memorial Avenue of trees is obtained from an old Milton Ulladulla Times newspaper clipping dated August 1922. Wednesday last was, without doubt, “one of the best days ever celebrated in Milton”.

A Memorial Avenue! Yes! A Memorial Avenue was first publicity mentioned to our knowledge somewhere about ten or eleven months ago. At first the idea didn’t seem to catch on but gradually the thought seemed to grip the people and early in the year a recommendation was made to the Council by the Memorial Committee that a Memorial Avenue be planted from the top of Stoney Hill along the Prince’s Highway to the proposed site for the Monument at the top of Thomas St., opposite the Methodist Parsonage.

This proposal finally reached the Council and unanimously, the Council waited for expert advice as to the trees, etc., to select before making a definite move in the matter of planting, and, as is often the case, the visit of the expert did not eventuate in time for things to go through… …taken up by Mrs Adam Warden, lady Mayoress, and a committee was formed to make arrangements for the planting of trees. The meeting called by Mrs Warden was small but evidently it was composed of the right people for right from then the movement gathered impetus.

That grand old optimist, Mr John Faust, suggested a working bee and the idea caught on, where it didn’t catch it was pushed, and where pushing wasn’t effective vaccination was even suggested so that when Wednesday arrived there were very few families that were not represented on the Avenue.

Without telling everyone knows who was the first on the ground. Everybody knows who had been over the ground half a dozen times previously, planned the work, marked the holes, and attended to the to 101 other little details. John was there shortly after 9.00am and was quickly followed by Mr Austin Smart, who at once undertook the dig at least five holes and erect the guards, then Mr James Allen, who also took five, was followed by Mr William Wilson and Jack Cole, and then, and them, and then, then, and so on till dinner time, as we said, there were very few families that were not represented. Every trade and profession represented in Milton was also represented there. With pick and shovel, crow bar, hammer, or saw the crowd tackled the work with a right good will; spades, hammers, and hoes were lent, and lost, found, and lost again, but no one worried, no one growled.

The local butcher and baker vied with the chemist and the farmer in doing the best day’s work. While Rev. Father McDonnell cut out prickly bushes, Rev. Williams dug holes, and Rev. Coates erected posts; while Mr Maunder hammered nails, and occasionally hit the wrong nail, Mr Hall wielded the pick. It was really surprising to note the number of men judging by the way they handled the implements, who must have at one time served their time as navvies. The Schools by Messrs Howie, Richards and “Dad” Redfern. So the work went on, Latta Bros., Messrs, Leaney, Ryan, Mison, Garrad and scores of others got solidly to it and made things move, ex-bank-Commissioner, R.A. Warden, held his own with his farmer brothers, while John Boag bossed Rupert Cork and W. L. Manton bossed the lot.

The factory whistle reminded those who were not hungry that a meal would be served and to those who were hungry it said the midday meal was ready. So on the hill opposite the Roman Catholic Church the crowed gathered, as crowd of well over 200; men, women, and children, for the kiddies had been granted a day’s holiday.

For the best part of an hour the ladies, supervised by Mrs Warden, Mrs T. Cork and Miss Faust were kept busy. They crowd here was rather mixed and the ladies had a somewhat difficult task in seeing tat none were missed, however, they kept to the job well and evidently the results were eminently satisfactory, for, after lunch, work was resumed with a zest that can only come from a completely satisfied feeling.

Thus work was tackled a new. Jim Duncan, Jim McMahon, Bill Proctor, Penny, and Leaney, tackled the job of shifting the bank at the Red Cutting to cover the barren gravelling patches near the Methodist parsonage; Jim Stack and Jack Cole and half a dozen Ingolds got once more to the hard graft and their example was followed by every other Jim and Jack in the gathering so that by the time afternoon tea was served at 3.00 pm there was very little left to be done. As the carts returned empty of earth scores of kiddies had free rides while the ladies strolled the length of the Avenue with a view to finding out just how well hubby could handle the shovel and whether his excuses for not digging in the garden were genuine.

The band under bandmaster Pullinger put in an appearance and added to the holiday aspect of the gathering. Afternoon tea served a pleasant break and here one or two speeches were made by His Worship, Ald, Adam Warden, Rev. Coates and Ald. Davis. Unfortunately, the speech portion of the programme was unexpected and our reporter happened to be handling the shovel particularly well elsewhere at that moment and missed the remarks.

However, afternoon tea over there only remained the stray ends to gather up and by 5.00pm the roadside had been completely transformed. Seventy-six holes each four feet wide and two feet deep had dug, seventy-six trees guards had been erected and seventy-six trees will (we hope) be planted within the next few days. Tools had been sorted out again, everyone agreed that the day had been a satisfactory beyond expectations, everyone went home feeling particularly pleased and happy and the first man to arrive was the last to go and the happiest man in the crowd was Mr John Faust.

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