The Avenue of Honour at Mortlake (2016)
Oil on canvas
34 (H) x 122(W) cm
The Avenue of Honour at Mortlake in western Victoria commemorates the service of 689 men of the district who went to both world wars including 149 who did not return. We remember them.
I am a Melbourne based landscape painter. I may be unusual in that I am not much interested in nature. What interests me are the ways in which we have changed the world around us … the marks made by civilization.
As I see it, in this corner of the world, there are no more significant marks that we have made upon the landscape than the Avenues of Honour. There are hundreds of such roadside plantations around Victoria. Most were planted after World War 1.
It was my great honour to put together an exhibition of my paintings of these monuments at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. That was 2006. Another version of the show later went to Ballarat Art Gallery.
The research I put into the project took me deep into the history and the tragic stories they commemorate and more particularly, to those who were left at home to grieve. I was very moved to find that for many of the descendants the pain is still palpable.
I am still painting Avenues of Honour. There are many sites I have yet to see. This one is at Mortlake in Western Victoria. It commemorates the service of 689 men from the district who went to both world wars including 149 who did not return.