The Honour Avenues
of Kings Park
The Honour Avenues of Kings Park
by The Reverend Jeff Astfalck | Assistant Priest, Wembley and Subiaco
Most of us are familiar with the metal memorial plaques with silver surrounds in front of the trees in the three Memorial Avenues of Kings Park. However, how many of us know the story behind them?
As Christians we believe our salvation lies in the hand of our Lord and our membership into the Kingdom of God. As citizens, as uncomfortable as it is, we too must acknowledge that our security is reliant on diplomatic efforts of the State and the services provided by our Defence Force and our Allies.
During times of conflict it is both civilians and combatants, on both sides of the conflict who are damaged. The plaques in Kings Park are dedicated for Western Australian service personnel who have been buried overseas or have no known grave, they do not include the service personnel buried in Australia.
There are over 1800 plaques and a team of ex-service and other volunteers in the Honour Avenues Group (HAG) continue to research the fallen. There are many more who have yet to be dedicated. For many families, it is the only place of remembrance for their family member and symbolism of a tree full of life is significant.
The families of the deceased seeking to dedicate plaques first contact HAG. After completion of administrative formalities and payment of a fee, they are invited to attend a Dedication Ceremony at May Circle in Kings Park. There each family is presented with the plaque for later placement in front of the tree. A short eulogy is provided for each of the departed including their civilian life, their service history and the nature of their death. It is a deeply moving ceremony and I am honoured to lead the public prayers as Chaplain to HAG. The research work completed by the volunteers of HAG is considerable considering the time past.
A special service commemorating the 100th year was held in August this year attended by the Governor. The Hon Peter Tinley AM MLA, himself a veteran, made the comment that before any politician in the future considers sending troops to war, they should walk these three avenues.
Our best hope of avoiding future conflict is to ensure that our young understand our history and the carnage and destruction of war and the effect it had and continues to have on Australia. The Highgate RSL website provides a wide range of resources that may be useful to school and/or parish groups: www.highgate-rsl.org.au/remembrance/
- Remembrance Walks through Kings Park with GPS and Google Maps information.
- A listing of all Western Australian War Memorials and Honour Board.
- A listing of HAG plaques database in Kings Park with GPS data, and a 'potted history' of each service member.
Given a web browser and a smart phone you now can see the full detail behind each plaque and via your GPS signal be taken on a guided tour.
The purpose of The Returned & Services League is not to glorify war, but rather to ensure that we never forget the price that has been paid, and that society is reminded of this before we commit more lives into harm’s way.
We will remember them. Lest we forget.