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National Trust of Australia (Victoria)

ABN 61 004 356 192

25 August 2015

Tasma Terrace
4 Parliament Place
East Melbourne

Cr Peter Cox
City of Greater Bendigo
PO Box 733

Victoria 3002
T 03 9656 9800
F 03 9656 5397

Re: Council Meeting 26 August 2015

Planning Scheme Amendment C201 & Protection of the Bendigo East Anzac Avenue
Dear Councillor Cox,
I refer to the City of Greater Bendigo Ordinary Council Meeting Agenda 26 August 2015, Item 2.2:
Planning Scheme Amendment C201 - New Heritage Places and Heritage Efficiency Review - Adoption.
The National Trust was approached earlier this year by community members concerned about the
future of the Bendigo East Anzac Avenue, at the former Bendigo East State School on Strickland
Road. We understand that the application to subdivide was done so in good faith based on existing
planning controls, but as you will be aware, the reality is that heritage issues are often triggered by
the permit application process; in this case, a permit that seeks to break up this site for the first time.
The National Trust has reviewed the recommendations of the Planning Panels report, and we agree
with the Panels statement that:
Regardless of the fact that the number of original trees are diminished and some of them are
in poor condition, it seems to the Panel that the significance of these plantings to this site
have been down played and the Anzac Avenue in its diminished form should be
acknowledged as part of the Heritage Overlay. While some of the trees may be identified as
dangerous, the place can be managed through replacing and managing the trees as
The Panel also stated:
It is clear that the plantings that have become known as the Anzac Avenue were undertaken
from the time that the school was built and opened. Whilst this occurred during the middle
of the war it was always the intention of the school committee to commemorate the
contribution of local servicemen.
The National Trust has undertaken some historical research into the origins of the Anzac Avenue.
From newspaper records, we know that the Bendigo East Anzac Avenue was planted on Arbor Day on
16 June 1916. Until now, the first WW1 Avenue planted in Victoria has been thought to be at Eurack
on 28 July 1916. On this basis, it is the National Trusts position that the Bendigo East Avenue of
Honour is the first and oldest World War One memorial avenue in Victoria.
The newspaper records confirm that one of the trees was planted by Lieutenant Dyett himself, who
as you will know was to become Sir Dyett, National President of the Returned & Services League
(RSL) for 27 years from 1919 to 1946.

Advice and opinions expressed by Trust members and staff are proferred in good faith on the basis that no legal liability is accepted by the Trust or the individual concerned.

The National Trust has also received an independent arboricultural assessment of the trees in
question. We have been advised that although the four living trees do have some structural issues
after years without maintenance, three can be safely retained with some pruning works to address
the existing structural issues and extend their life. These trees are in good health, having high
retention value due to their historic significance. The arborist also recommends two stages of
planting to reinstate the Avenue to its former glory. Tree succession is a natural part of caring for all
Avenues of Honour, and the loss of some trees over the last 100 years in no way diminishes the
significance of a war memorial. It would be wonderful to see new saplings planted and new plaques
unveiled as the original trees see their centenary next year.
In light of the recommendations provided by the Panel and the Council officer, and the new
information regarding the significance of the Avenue, the National Trust strongly urges you to vote in
favour of the Officers recommendation.
That the Greater Bendigo City Council resolve to:
1. Adopt Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme Amendment C201 with changes recommended
in this report.
2. Inform VCAT at the upcoming hearing for permit DS/319/2014 - subdivision and removal
of native vegetation at the former East Bendigo Primary School, that Council no longer
supports the granting of a permit in light of the new information received from the Panel.
3. Forward the adopted Amendment to the Minister for Planning for Approval, together
with the prescribed information pursuant to Section 31(1) of the Planning and Environment
Act, 1987.
The Bendigo East Anzac Avenue is a precious war memorial, commemorating 27 Bendigo men that
served. Some made the ultimate sacrifice and others returned home wounded, blind or deaf from
being shot in the face. In a letter to the Education Department from the School Committee in 1920,
Mrs A.J. Hampson writes:
the trees when planted were watered by the tears of the mothers.
In this Anzac Centenary year, the National Trust urges you to act to protect the earliest known World
War One planting in Victoria.
If you require any further information, please dont hesitate to contact me directly on 0409 091 907.
Yours sincerely,

Anna Foley
Acting Manager, Advocacy & Conservation