Marian Tree Avenue Plaques 1914–1918

Location of Marian Tree Avenue Plaques 1914–1918

Pioneer Valley Museum,Victoria Street
Mirani QLD 4754

Enamelled metal plaques, with a blue background and white lettering were manufactured using a pressing/stamp technique. Each plaque bares the soldiers name, unit, area of service and battle details.

The six plaques are the remains of a set of fourteen which were originally mounted on weeping fig trees growing on ANZAC Avenue Marian. The trees and their plaques were intended to honour the memory of fourteen Marian and District soldiers who lost their lives during World War I, 1914–1918.

In 2010, the six plaques are mounted on a stand to optimize viewing for the public.

Inscription

Refer to additional images for inscription details.

Conflicts commemorated
First World War, 1914–1918
Memorial type
Garden/avenue/tree
Commemorative services held

ANZAC Day Dawn Service at ANZAC Place, followed by breakfast at the Marian Community Hall. The Pioneer Valley Museum loans the 6 plaques to the Marian RSL Sub Branch to be displayed on the cenotaph and also in the Community Hall during breakfast.

Additional information

On Sunday 18 May 1919, the Marian Patriotic Committee, whose Honorary Secretary was Mr. F.J. Field, held a ceremony to plant fourteen weeping fig trees in ANZAC Avenue, Marian to honour the memory of fourteen Marian soldiers who had made the supreme sacrifice during the conflict of World War One.
The fourteen soldiers whose names were inscribed onto the plaques and assigned to the newly planted trees are listed below.

Corporal A.C. J. Graffunder.
Private J.W. Cummings.
Lance Corporal J. Bisset.
Lieutenant T.A. Armstrong.
Private W.J. Poulsen.
Corporal S.H. Edwards.
Private T. Stocker.
Private G.T. Martin.
Private P.E. Coyne.
Sergeant D.E. Coyne.
Private T.S. Harvison.
Signaller W. J. Archbold.
Lance Corporal H.J. Stayt.
Private W. M. Lowther.

In 1955 a decision was taken to remove the trees in the interests of public safety (most probably by the former Mirani Shire Council) following a traffic accident and severe cyclone damage in early 1955. Although the plaques were mounted to small concrete pedestals at the base of each tree, it is assumed that they were discarded with the trees. A member of the local Fordyce family chanced across six of the plaques at the Otterbum dump. The plaques were subsequently handed over to the RSL Marian Sub Branch for safe custody. In the early 1970 s the Sub-Branch relocated to a new building and this as when the plaques went missing .

In 2010, Jeff Riddel Secretary of Marian RSL Sub Branch joined the Friends of the Museum of the Mackay Regional Council Mirani Museum located at Mirani. It was at this time that the plaques were located, along with a handover document signed by the then Sub Branch President Mr Emmet Peacock and museum representative Leslie Kane, dated 27 August 1990.

The names on the six plaques recovered in February are;

Signaller W. J. Archbold

Sergeant D.E. Coyne

Private P.E. Coyne

Private J.W.Cummings
Corporal S.H. Edwards
Private T.Stocker

All of the plaques carry the words either "Killed in action" or "Died of wounds". Two of them carry the words "Somewhere in Belgium", and "Somewhere in France". These recovered plaques have been mounted to a wooden backing board and are on permanent display at the Pioneer Valley Museum in Mirani.

The plaques are in a good condition considering their age. They have been damaged due to circumstances described above, however any deterioration appears to have been arrested.

The Museum opens for three days each week, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Recorded by
Jeff Riddel, Pioneer Valley Museum, Mirani
Date recorded
7 March 2012

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