King St Avenue of Honour

Description: 

 

 A SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO THE MERCHANT NAVY IN TIMES OF WAR.

 

The King St, “Avenue of Honour” is a living memorial to the service and sacrifice of Merchant Navy in two world wars.  It is comprised of native trees and shrubs planted alongside King St, Manly Vale Sydney, a 1.5 km stretch of road from Condamine Street to the approaches of Manly Warringah War Memorial Park. The centrepiece is a stone monument with surrounding trees at King Reserve. Additionally there are 25 commemorative plaques situated on telegraph poles along the street.

 

The project commenced on National Tree day 2005 when members of the Save Manly Dam Catchment Committee’s “Mermaid Pool” environmental restoration project plus community volunteers, commenced stage 1 of the street planting. This proceeded with the approval of Warringah Council after residents were “letterboxed” to keep them informed and given the option to “opt out”.

 

Stage 2 of the project continued in 2011 after a NSW Government “Community Building Partnership” grant was successfully applied for. This helped fund professionals from “Australian Bushland Restoration” to plant and maintain additional seedlings. It also enabled the purchase of a stone monument and signage plaques.

 

This work was fully supported by the Merchant Navy (NSW) RSL Sub Branch (specifically its president Don Kennedy) and local Merchant Navy  ex Servicemen, Ray Cox and Don Caporn.  Ray has been an active conservationist in this area over many years and the planting of native trees is especially dear to his heart.

 

Warringah Council subsequently agreed to mulch the tree planting area at King Reserve and contracted “Bushlink” who employ people with a disability to do the job. Ongoing maintenance is carried out by volunteers from the Save Manly Dam Catchment Committee.  It is hoped that the ‘Avenue of Honour” will not  only serve to pay tribute to merchant navy personnel and reflect the affinity and respect that mariners historically have with the forces of nature, but that it will additionally act to educate and inform the community about local biodiversity.

 

Since earliest times of maritime commerce, the Merchant Navy has been integral  during times of war. ..Until the latter part of the 14th century the monarch, by impressment or contract raised ships during conflict.  Previously, no Royal Navy as we know it existed.. ( 1 )

 

The title “Merchant Navy” was bestowed by degree of the late King George V in recognition and appreciation of loyal and heroic duties performed during WW1.

 

During WW1 and WW2 Merchant Navy ( MN ) personnel served in all theatres of war. .MN manned vessels included ; troop and hospital ships, munitions and supply ships, tankers, salvage and rescue ships....The  demands of a total war effort requiring the  transportation of war materials and food stuffs was always important , at times crucial to the ultimate success of the Allied cause...

 

So effective and horrific were U boat packs and air attacks on Russian, Atlantic and Malta convoys, MN personnel losses in these war zones  were 1 in 5 .. “ But for the Merchant Navy who bring us the food and munitions of war; Britain would be in a parlous state and indeed without them , the Army, Navy and Air Force could not operate.”..( 2 )

 

The roll the MN played in  Australia's survival was no less important....Ships attacked /sunk by enemy action on the Eastern coast of Australia alone was 37,  including the clearly identifiable  hospital ship “Centaur” in  May, 1943 off the SE Queensland coast  that cost 268 lives..( 3 )( 4 )...The hazards of the sea, the losses and causalities from submarines, mines, armed raiders in Pacific and Indian oceans and air raids such as on Darwin,  only then does the extent that  MN personnel  were in harm's way become  recognized....WW2 MN losses overall is recorded to be 1 in 10 ...not  including wounded and prisoners of war.

 

References:

( 1 ) A History of the Merchant Navy...H. Moyse-Bartlett..BA ( Oxon )

( 2 ) Winston Churchill statement…...27 January, 1942.

( 3 ) Red Ensign  ….............May, 2003

( 4 ) Commemorative Plaque,  Australian Maritime Museum, Sydney

 

Manly Daily article 8th May 2012 http://origin.manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/manly-vale-plaque-ban-overturned/

Manly Daily article 9th May 2012 http://origin.manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/avenue-listing-close/

Manly Daily article Sept 24th 2012 http://origin.manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/avenue-to-lost-mariners/

Monument Australia website  http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/multiple/display/99661-merchant-navy-avenue-of-honour

Save Manly Dam Catchment Committee website http://scci.csumain.csu.edu.au/mermaidpool/wordpress/?p=194

 

 

 

Inscription: 

 

The avenue of local trees and shrubs along king St was completed in 2011 to commemorate the wartime service and sacrifice of members  of the Merchant Navy during World War 1 and World War 2.

Funding was provided by the NSW government and the planting organised by the Save Manly Dam Catchment Commitee "Return of the Mermaids" Restoration Project.

The "Return of the Mermaids" seeks to restore the Mermaid Pool on Manly Creek and rehabilitate its bushland surrounds from the effects of rubbish dumping, invasive weeds and pollution.

The volunteer project team also works to inform the community about the beauty and wonder of our disappearing natural heritage and the need to protect what's left. The seedlings planted are all indigenous to this area and provide food and habitat for native wildlife.

 

War: 

World War 1
World War 2
 
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Recorded By: 

Malcolm Fisher
 

Established: 

2011
 
 

Address Data: 

49 King Street
Manly Vale NSW 2093
 
 

Community contribution

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