David Lawry and Dr Darren Peacock

Treenet Sociable Technology

Background

The Avenues of Honour 1915-2015 project is a national initiative to honour with a tree the memory of every individual who has made the supreme sacrifice on behalf of all Australians, by documenting, preserving and reinstating the original, and establishing new Avenues of Honour, during  the Centenary of World War I  in the period  April 25th 2015 through to  November 11th 2018. The Project was launched at the 5th National TREENET Symposium in 2004.

The arboreal Avenue of Honour has been an enduring and highly popular form of public commemoration of military service in Australia. More than any other nation, Australians have chosen to recognise service and sacrifice through community plantings of memorial Avenues of Honour. The earliest recorded Avenues of Honour were created in response to Australia’s participation in the Boer War, but the majority were established during and after World War I and, to a lesser extent, World War II.

At the time Sarah Cockerell listed 185 avenues as surviving in some form (2) but after a nationwide survey in 2006 she  recorded 567 known Avenues of Honour across Australia, most of which remained in some form, although some were depleted or in poor condition. Across all of the existing Avenues there are estimated to be more than 100 000 living trees. These Avenues and the trees that comprise them are typically on public land and, most often, are managed by Local Councils, although Avenues may also have dedicated local management committees.

Known Avenues of Honour by State, as of 2006

State Number identified
ACT 2
NSW 67
QLD 52
SA 38
TAS 69
VIC 312
WA 27
TOTAL 567

Purpose

The purpose of the Avenues of Honour 2015 project is to ensure that Avenues continue to play an important role in community commemoration of military service and sacrifice. A particular goal for the Anzac Centenary is to ensure that each of those Australians who made the supreme sacrifice in serving their country are recognised with a thriving living memorial that is known, recognised and discoverable by their descendants, relatives and by local communities as well as by any other interested parties.

Project Scope

The TREENET Avenues of Honour project provides national leadership and co-ordination of community-based initiatives to restore, reinstate and establish memorial Avenues of Honour to coincide with the Anzac Centenary and the 100th anniversary of the major events of World War I over the period 1914-1918.

The project will undertake research and documentation of existing Avenues, creating a comprehensive and accessible online record of all Avenues using the latest social and mobile web technologies and providing advice and support to local communities to restore, reinstate or establish Avenues of Honour as part of their commemorations of the Anzac Centenary and the 100th Anniversary of the events of World War I.

The project is using contemporary web-based technologies to create an enduring and comprehensive national online record of existing, planned and lost Avenues as a precursor to the engagement of local communities in their preservation, restoration and establishment anytime in the future.

Over 5 years, the project will complete the task of documenting all avenues, trees and persons commemorated, provide assistance and training to local communities to research document and promote their avenues and provide technical advice and support in the restoration of existing avenues and the establishment of new ones.

There are three main areas of project activity (see the project plan at Section 7 for details)

  1. Research and documentation

Developing and managing an integrated national online reference service for Australia’s Avenues of Honour covering their history, significance, current condition and future management and sustainability.

  1. Community engagement

Inspiring local communities to recognise the value of their existing living memorials and to undertake restoration and planting initiatives as a national community-based commemoration for the Centenary of Anzac and the 100th anniversary of events during World War I.

  1. Supporting community activities

Providing standard operating procedures for undertaking Avenue projects at the community level as well as technical assessment and advice in specialist areas relating to trees, historical data, information sharing and commemorative protocol.

Outcomes

The project aims to deliver outcomes in the short term during the course of the project and in the long term by building sustainable online information resources and local communities of interest to support Avenues of Honour into the future. In particular, the project will achieve:

  • Increased public awareness and appreciation of Avenues of Honour as a record and monument to military service and sacrifice.
  • An integrated national web-based information resource about Avenues of Honours and the people and service they commemorate.
  • Sustainable local communities of interest around each Avenue
  • Improvement in the long term health and sustainability of Australia’s Avenues of Honour.
  • New investment in commemorative plantings.
  • Enhanced community engagement through commemoration activities associated with the Avenues during the Anzac Centenary and the 100th Anniversary of the events of World War 1.
  • Increased accessibility of local history records about the experience of Australia’s service men and women.
  • Improving management practices for public arboreal projects.
  • Education, public awareness and community access.

Technical development

The project requires the development of technologically-based products and infrastructure to capture, store and publish information about Avenues of Honour and to make it accessible to communities, families, researchers and students. This infrastructure is at the heart of the project as it brings together for the first time all information about Australia’s Avenues of Honour and the people and service that they commemorate. The project will commission and manage the development of an integrated technical infrastructure that will support community participation in the creation and sharing of information about the avenues and in creating and sharing the memories of communities and families about those who served.

In 2013, the technical infrastructure to support the project was scoped and development was undertaken on data requirements by Sociable Technology. The first component, the Avenues of Honour project blog, was launched in June.

There are four main components for the technical infrastructure

The Avenues of Honour wiki website will, on completion, create a national community-sourced encyclopedia of information about the Avenues and the people and service they commemorate. The use of wiki technology enables people across Australia to add information and memories about the Avenues and the people associated with them. The website will become an indispensable permanent online reference to the history and health of every Avenue.

Mobile applications will assist in the capture of information about Avenues, plaques and trees in the research phase and provide information from the wiki website for mobile devices such as phones, tablets and GPS devices.

The project blog launched in April 2013 will document and promote the project over 5 years to keep participants informed and engaged. The blog integrates with social media platforms and e-newsletters to promote the Avenues project and document its progress and successes.

Avenues of Honour project blog site, launched June 2013 at www.avenuesofhonour.org

The Avenues of Honour database will maintain a full data record of each Avenue for the purpose of supporting effective planning and future management of Australia’s Avenues.

There are many fields of information that should be captured if possible for each tree or Avenue. At the 2007 TREENET Symposium Ben Kenyon (3) presented a draft standard for the Avenues of Honour database which has been a key document in the design of the currently proposed database.

In planning for the technical infrastructure to support the online presence of the Avenues of Honour project, the data standard has been updated and extended.

Data standard for Avenues of Honour Project, December 2012

This data standard identifies the data fields to be used in the master database and wiki website. Relationships between the fields are built into the data model.

The standard is divided into 6 parts, covering:

  1. Avenues
  2. Trees
  3. Plaques
  4. Persons Commemorated
  5. Species
  6. Contacts

AVENUES

Field                        ID Field

Identification fields

101                       Avenue ID Number
102                       Avenue Type
103                       Avenue Name
104                       Street Address
105                       Locality name
106                       State/Territory

107                       Postcode
108                       Geo-cordinates
109                       Location details
110                       Local Government Area (LGA)
111                       State/Territory electorate
112                       Federal electorate

Description fields

113                       Date of planting
114                       Planted by
115                       Designed by
116                       Original total number of trees
117                       Existing number of trees
118                       Proposed number of trees
119                       Avenue length
120                       Description
121                       Original features
122                       Notes
123                       Species
124                       Signage
125                       Plaques

Significance fields

126                       Conflict/s commemorated
127                       Original purpose
128                       Recognition
129                       History
130                       References

Management fields

131                       Managing authority

132                       Managing authority contact person
133                       Associated groups
134                       Condition assessment
135                       Major changes over time
136                       Known Hazards
137                       Donors
138                       Local management issues

Audio visual fields

139                       Photographs
140                       Audio
141                       Video

TREES

Identification fields

201                       Tree ID number

202                       Avenue Name

203                       Geo-cordinates

204                       Plaque

Description fields

205                       Genus

206                       Species

207                       Sub species

208                       Date planted

209                       Person/People Commemorated

Condition fields

210                       Age

211                       Height

212                       Diameter at Breast Height (DBH)

213                       Health

214                       Structure

215                       Useful life expectancy

216                       Likely works

217                       Assessed by

218                       Assessed on

Audio visual fields

219                       Photographs

220                       Audio

221                       Video

PLAQUES

Identification fields

301                       Plaque ID number

302                       Tree ID

303                       Avenue name

304                       Plaque location

305                       Plaque orientation

306                       Plaque geo-cordinates

307                       Plaque material

308                       Plaque condition

309                       Plaque Manufacturer

Audio visual fields

310                       Photographs

PERSON/PEOPLE COMMEMORATED

Field

ID                                                                  Field

Identification fields

Individual/Group

401                       Surname

402                       Also known as

403                       First name

404                       Other names

405                       Service ID

406                       Rank

407                       Date of birth

408                       Place of birth

409                       Date of decease

410                       Place of decease

Service history

411                       Date of enlisting

412                       Place of enlisting

413                       Service

414                       Unit name

415                       Conflict

416                       Deployments

417                       Died on active service

418                       Date of decease

419                       NAA Enlistment Record

420                       NAA Service Record

421                       AWM Roll of Honour

422                       Date of embarkation

423                       Place of embarkation

424                       Name of Embarkation ship

425

Contact information

426                       Next of kin (enlistment record)

427                       Known kin relative

428                       Historical information contact

Audio visual fields

429                       Photographs

430                       Audio

431                       Video

SPECIES

Field ID                       Field

Identification fields

501                       Species

502                       Common name

503                       Height

504                       Longevity

Audio visual fields

505                       Photographs

CONTACTS

Field

ID                       Field

601                       Avenue ID

602                       Tree ID

603                       Service ID

604                       Type of contact

605                       Title

606                       Contact person surname

607                       Contact person first name

608                       Organisation

609                       Postal address

609                       Phone

610                       Email

611                       Web address

Participation and promotion

The Avenues of Honour project is based on widespread public participation which requires engagement with a broad range of project stakeholders.

The following stakeholder map outlines the key stakeholder groups in the project. A stakeholder engagement strategy will be developed as part of the project’s Marketing and Communication Plan.

Stakeholder map

Individual or Group Nature of Stakeholding Issues of interest and concern
TREENET, Adelaide Project Manager

Expert Arborist advice

Preservation of existing Avenue

Establishment of new Avenues

Raising awareness of urban arboriculture

Local Councils, 562 local

government bodies and State and National peak bodies

Management of Avenues

Community development

Local commemoration of Anzac Centenary

Maintenance of Avenues

Community participation

Cost benefit of establishing/maintaining avenues

RSL and other service organisations, 1300 RSL local sub-branches, state branches, national peak bodies, approximately 180 000 members Preservation of existing memorials

Recognition of service and sacrifice Community education and participation

Appropriate recognition and

commemoration in memorials and events

Arborist and landscape professionals Preserving and promoting urban arboriculture Maintaining existing avenues

Establishing future sustainability

Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments Effective commemoration of Anzac Centenary

Funding and leadership of commemoration activities

Participation in commemoration activities

Cost effectiveness Recognition of government activity/services

Australian War Memorial Leading organisation for commemoration of Australian military service Effective commemoration of Anzac Centenary
Local communities Recognition of local contribution

Preservation of existing memorials

Appropriate commemoration activities and memorials
Relatives and descendants of persons commemorated Living connection to those who served and died.

Public remembrance and respect.

Appropriate commemoration activities and memorials

Opportunities to participate.

National Trust and other Heritage bodies, including government agencies

Local, state and national organisations and peak bodies

Protection and preservation of natural and cultural heritage

Promotion of heritage and community engagement

Recording and listing Avenues for heritage protection

Increasing awareness of Avenues as local heritage

Individual or Group Nature of Stakeholding Issues of interest and concern
Community historical societies 1000 local history

organisations with 100 000 members; State and national organisations and peak bodies

Documenting local history including the history of military service

Promoting local heritage sites and community interest in history

Connecting Avenues to local history records

Ensuring that local history is preserved and accessible

Public events to promote interest in local history

School educators,

Curriculum experts, subject associations and peak bodies.

Educating students about history and the environment Accessible information to support teaching and learning

Opportunities for student activities and participation.

Participants

The project aims to engage people across Australia as participants in researching, documenting, restoring, creating and celebrating Avenues of Honour in their communities.

Research

The research stage of the project will consolidate information about existing Avenues into a single national database and make it available to people via the wiki website and mobile applications. The project will work in partnership with the Federation of Australian Historical Societies and the Australian Council of National Trusts to engage local history and heritage organisations in the project as on the ground researchers and contributors to the project.

Community engagement

Community engagement activities will happen in collaboration with Local Councils, RSL organisations, Local Historical Societies and National Trust organisations and in conjunction with schools and other community organisations. The project will establish community partnerships around each Avenue and support them with training and information to enable them to record and promote the history and significance of local Avenues.

Marketing and Communication

The project will develop a national marketing and communication strategy to promote the goals and successes of the project through print broadcast media and online through the project blog, social media platforms and e-newsletter. The communication strategy will ensure that local community groups are in touch with each other to promote shared interest and learning across Australia.

Sponsorship and fundraising

The project depends on significant funding being raised through sponsorship and fundraising activities. A sponsorship strategy will be developed to identify suitable sponsors to approach for support. A presentation to potential major sponsors and supporters will be developed for sponsor approaches to be undertaken in the first half of 2013.

The project will also be nominating for funding under Australian Government Anzac Centenary activities.

Education and public programs

The project will develop education resource materials in line with the new Australian Curriculum to support teachers in promoting learning and participation in the Avenues of Honour project within primary and secondary schools.  Communities that partner with the program will be able to participate in workshop sessions on promoting participation in the Avenues program.

Conclusion

Through the use of new communications technology, the Avenues of Honour project is now positioned to enter a new phase of public promotion and community engagement. The establishment of the project blog site in 2013, presenting the current data held by TREENET about known Avenues has significantly raised the profile of the project and brought forth new information and a groundswell of public interest and support.

The finalisation of the data standard to inform the future development of a wiki based website and supporting mobile applications means we are also ready to enter the next stage of documentation and promotion of existing Avenues.  This will build momentum for restoration and replanting activity and for the creation of new Avenues to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of World War I and the Gallipoli landings.

References

  • Lawry, D. 2004. Proceedings of the 5th National Street Tree Symposium, TREENET AVENUES OF HONOUR 2015 PROJECT
  • Cockerell, S. 2004. Proceedings of the 5th National Street Tree Symposium, TREENET AVENUES OF HONOUR SURVEY
  • Kenyon, B. 2006. Proceedings of the 7th National Street Tree Symposium, DEVELOPMENT OF A STANDARD FOR AVENUES OF HONOUR DATABASE