- Publication no: ABC2017-062-17
- Published: 21 April 2017
The Ballarat Avenue of Honour is a memorial to local service personnel who served in World War I and extends 22 kilometres from the iconic Ballarat Arch of Victory to Weatherboard Road.
When the Ballarat Bypass was constructed in the early 1990s, some trees were removed and Avenue Road was closed at the Melbourne-Ararat railway line, splitting the Avenue of Honour into two sections.
In 2009, VicRoads began work to duplicate the Western Highway and recognised that the new gradeseparated interchange at Remembrance Drive was a unique opportunity to reconnect the Avenue. Working closely with expert landscape architects OCULUS, the Ballarat Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee and Heritage Victoria, VicRoads developed a design that balanced the functional aspects of a freeway interchange with respectful elements to highlight the Avenue’s significance, commemorate servicemen and servicewomen and to ensure the historical integrity of the Avenue.
The new overpass was designed to emphasise the sweeping vista along the Avenue and also to allow new avenue trees to grow underneath. Other design elements of significance were employed, including customised reinforced earth abutment walls that incorporate aspects of the avenue elm trees as well as remember World War I battlefields and service units; and parapet screens to commemorate the 3801 local service personnel.
The new interchange features landscaped fields, designed to bloom with red native wildflowers around ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day to reflect the red poppies that grow in the World War I battlefield of Flanders Fields in Europe. The overpass was officially opened on 12 April 2015, re-connecting the Ballarat Avenue of Honour for the first time in 22 years.
The overpass has become a place for reflection for those wishing to remember the many service personnel who served their country.