RSL launches rotunda campaign

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rotunda-planned

Funding campaign: The rotunda planned at Mornington Park.

THE RSL is launching a campaign this month to raise money for a rotunda at a new avenue of honour in Mornington Park.

The rotunda will be furnished with bronze plaques giving information about avenues of honour in general and Mornington’s in particular. These are being funded by the federal government’s Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program.

The rotunda will in the same place as the park’s original rotunda – a familiar feature to the young men going off to war 100 years ago. The completion date, including painting and landscaping, is expected to be this October – in time for the dedication of the new avenue on the weekend before Remembrance Day on 11 November.

The rotunda will also host community events. Its raised floor can be used as a bandstand or as a platform for other entertainments and gatherings.

In 2011, Mornington Peninsula Shire considered a proposal by the Heritage Support Committee of the Mornington RSL that a new avenue of honour be established in Mornington as part of the Anzac centenary commemoration.

After meetings with local councillors and council staff, investigations were conducted into several local roads to find one suited for this purpose, but they were all rejected for one reason or another. Finally, it was decided to establish the avenue alongside the pathways in Mornington Park where it would gain maximum exposure. It was also agreed to enhance the avenue by having a rotunda displaying information plaques giving the story behind avenues of honour. This will raise awareness of the sacrifice and commitment of local servicemen and women.

The new avenue was funded by the shire and completed in October 2012. After a formal ceremony, local dignitaries and school children help plant the trees. The larger ones are ornamental pears and the smaller ones flowering plums.

The original avenue, which used to line parts of Main St, was dedicated to all the men from the then Mornington Shire who volunteered for WWI. It was not a memorial for the fallen – that came later when the cenotaph was built – but rather an acknowledgement of all the men who put their lives on the line during the war. The new avenue has been created in that tradition and will be dedicated to all local servicemen and women from Mornington, Mt Eliza, Mt Martha and Moorooduc who served in all wars and peacekeeping operations since federation.

rotunda-original

As it was: The original rotunda at Mornington Park.

The rotunda has the support of the shire council and Briars Ward councillors have contributed $19,900 of their discretionary spending allowances towards the total cost of $64,450. Mornington Rotary members will cover the cost of painting it.

This means about $40,000 must be raised for this project to promote and maintain awareness of an important aspect of local history, keeping alive the military contribution made by the district over the years. The rotunda will also add amenity to the park, providing shelter and shade, as well as being a focal point for various communal and musical activities.

The fundraising campaign will start this week. Donations from businesses and individuals will be acknowledged by engraved pavers around it displaying the names or logos of sponsors.

Details: 5977 0027 or 0404 873 190.

First published in the Mornington News

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