Plans for a new memorial at Walwa

WORLD War I memorial trees at Walwa Recreation Reserve have been cut down to make way for the town’s community recovery centre now under construction.

Up to eight London plane trees planted in memory of servicemen killed in 1914-18 had to go from the site chosen for the $400,000 project due to be completed by the middle of the year.

Towong Shire mayor Mary Fraser said the decision to cut down the trees was a difficult one.

“When considering the location of the building at the Walwa Recreation Reserve, the community-led project control group together with council identified that between six and eight trees needed to be removed,” she said.

“We understand that these trees had been planted to honour those who had lost their lives in the Great War.

“Council and everyone involved in this project have been concerned about their removal.”

Cr Fraser said the local RSL sub-branch was consulted about the removal of the trees.

It has made a commitment to establish a new World War I memorial at Walwa.

“Following the advice from the RSL, a decision was made to proceed with the removal of some of the memorial trees,” she said.

The whereabouts of plaques originally att-ached to the trees is not known.

“If any member of the Upper Murray community would like to be involved in establishing a new memorial, or if they are aware of where any of the original plaques are, can they please contact council,” she said.

The recovery centre is an initiative of Towong Council and Border-Walwa Football-Netball Club with support of the federal and state governments.

It has been created as a safehaven in flood and bushfire emergencies and will include meeting rooms, a large catering area, disabled toilets and equipment store.

Stage two is improving facilities for the town’s football, netball and tennis teams.

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