IT was a grand affair when Mornington’s Avenue of Honour was dedicated and the new rotunda opened in Mornington Park, Sunday 8 November.
Musical accompaniment was provided by the Royal Australian Navy Band and Mornington Youth and Citizens’ Band and the service was well attended on the sunny day.
The celebrations started when secondary students from Peninsula School, Toorak College, Padua College, Mornington Secondary College and Balcombe Grammar marched along the avenue bearing plaques with the names of the 120 WWI volunteers from the old Mornington Shire.
The RSL’s Heritage Support Committee chair and MC Colin Fisher told the gathering that the avenue had been funded by the shire and planted by dignitaries, school children and members of the veterans’ community in October 2012 in preparation for the day.
Dunkley MP Bruce Billson then unveiled bronze plaques giving information about avenues of honour funded by the federal government’s ANZAC Centenary Local Grants Program. He spoke of the area’s proud heritage and the community commitment displayed by local people, past and present.
The plaques are dedicated in honour of men and women from Mornington, Mt Eliza, Moorooduc and Mt Martha, who served in all wars and peacekeeping operations since Federation in 1901.
The dedication service, conducted by The Reverend Helen Phillips, of St Peter’s, was followed by the formal opening of the rotunda and the adjacent sponsors’ paved area by the former mayor, Cr Bev Colomb. She and Crs Anne Shaw and Andrew Dixon have been strong advocates and supporters of this joint shire/RSL/Rotary project, Mr Fisher said.
Cr Colomb congratulated the RSL’s Heritage Support Committee and the council staff involved. “The rotunda stands in the same place as an earlier one which would have been familiar to locals during WWI and it will no doubt be used as a place of reflection,” she said.
“It will provide added amenity to the park, and will be used as a bandstand for the Mornington Youth and Citizens’ Band.”
A sponsor’s area displays pavers engraved with the names of individuals, families, organisations and businesses which made donations towards the cost.
Australian Unity regional manager Marie Crossland said sponsors were “delighted to be associated with the project”.
Mr Fisher said funding had been kicked started using a discretionary allowance by ward councillors, with additional funds from the shire and Rotary. He said an extra $45,000 was raised by selling the pavers in return for donations. The full cost of the rotunda was $51,000 – paid for equally by the shire and the community.