Sunday, 8 March 2015

A tale of two Arthurs and the Memorial Avenue of Trees at Lake Reserve, Coburg

Firstly, I should correct a few inaccuracies from my last blog entry on 692 Private Arthur Hunt, 57th Infantry Battalion.

  • I noted that he was buried at the Villeurs-Brettoneux Military Cemetery, but what I should have said was that he is memorialised there. Like so many servicemen, his actual burial place is unknown.
  • I also mentioned a 'sibling' (actually an aunt) called Alice, who I said was 17 years old than Arthur. In fact, Arthur never knew Alice, as she died in 1882, aged 1 (and long before Arthur was born).
  • Finally, I mentioned that Arthur's brother/uncle Syd Hunt had damaged eyes due to being gassed in the war. This is true, however, the story of him removing his glass eyes has proved to be untrue. The family member who remembers this happening when he was a young boy has now been told by other family members that there were no glass eyes, so it has proved to be a false memory. 

And now for some further news relating to which of the two Arthur Hunts was memorialised at the Lake Reserve Memorial Avenue of Trees.

Letter relating to the planting of the Memorial Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve, Coburg, 30 August 1919. Courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Images relating to the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at Lake Reserve, April 1990. Images courtesy Coburg Historical Society.

Recent research has revealed that the list of names on the plaque unveiled in 1990 is incomplete and in some cases it is inaccurate. The list was compiled after extensive research using the available evidence of the time. Since then, new material has come to light, including a plan of the Avenue and the names of soldiers with their tree numbers. Since then, too, more and more resources have come online, including the richly diverse collection of the Australian War Memorial and the soldiers' records available from the National Archives of Australia.

And so, thanks largely to the work of local couple Bruce and Sue Garrett, Coburg Historical Society now holds an almost complete record of those men who are remembered at the Lake Reserve Memorial Avenue of Trees. Please contact Coburg Historical Society if you would like to know more. 

If you are at Lake Reserve, you can consult the large storyboard that has been erected at the start of the Avenue. It gives a plan of the Memorial Avenue of Trees and the names of those remembered there.

Many of the men who were remembered at Lake Reserve were former pupils of Coburg State School and are the subject of Coburg Historical Society's ANZAC Centenary project 'A hundred men, a hundred heroes: the old boys of Coburg State School go to war'. If you would like to know more, or you would like to contribute to the project, please contact Coburg Historical Society.

And now back to the matter of which Arthur Hunt is remembered at Lake Reserve ...

I have just found a handwritten list of names of those who had trees planted in their memory and I can now reveal that Tree #49 in the Memorial Avenue of Trees was planted in memory of 3046 Sergeant Arthur Hunt, the husband of Ethel Lily Hunt, once of 322 Sydney Road, later of 26 Richard Street, Coburg and later still of Epping in NSW. Sergeant Hunt died of wounds received at Fromelles in July 1916. 

So now we know. Perhaps 692 Private Arthur Hunt is memorialised in Monbulk or Belgrave where his family lived at the end of the war? I'm sure today's generation of the family will be keen to discover if this is the case, so if anyone reading this blog has further information, please let me know.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful work. As far as i could find out so far, Arthur Hunt's name is not memoralised at Belgrave although his uncle, my grandfather, Syd Hunt is. I am still searching.