About the Remembrance Driveway
The Great War of 1914-1918 fostered an enormous community need to establish lasting memorials to those who served their country. Today Australia has more war memorials than any other nation.
After World War II, planting trees was seen as a symbol of hope for the future. Mrs Margaret Davis MBE, the Founding President of the Garden Clubs of Australia, suggested planting a living memorial to those Australians who had served in World War II.
A preliminary committee was formed in April 1952 to investigate planting avenues of trees and establishing groves and memorial parks along the Hume and Federal Highways between Sydney and Canberra to honour those who had served as members of the Australian Defence Forces during World War II. This committee became the Remembrance Driveway Council.
In 1954 the Queen and Prince Philip launched the Remembrance Driveway when they each planted a Plane tree in Macquarie Place, Sydney. These trees mark the Sydney end of the Driveway. In 2002 three Red Spotted Gums were planted by the Governor-General in the Remembrance Park, behind the Australian War Memorial, Canberra to mark the Canberra end of the Driveway.
During the 1980s, the M5 Freeway, south of Liverpool, replaced the Hume Highway and it has become the new route for the Driveway, with native trees and shrubs being planted along its length.
The Remembrance Driveway is a tribute from those who remember yesterday and have faith in tomorrow. It commemorates all those who served in the Australian Defence Forces in World War II and subsequent wars or who have served since then in defence of the nation's interests, in operational theatres around the world.
During the mid-1990s the Council decided to develop the Victoria Rest Areas and Memorial Parks. These honour Australian Victoria Cross recipients from World War Two, the Vietnam war and subsequent conflicts. Because of their acts of valour and extraordinary personal courage, they have been selected by name to represent all men and women commemorated along the Driveway. These memorials have been completed using the Council's funds (most of which are donated by the public) and funding from the Federal, NSW and ACT Governments, and with support from commercial entities such as 7-Eleven (Kenna VC Rest Area, Pheasants Nest, NSW). 23 such Victoria Cross memorials have been established as of August 2012.
I hope that those using the Driveway will reflect on the sacrifices made by the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have defended our national interests, helped forge our national identity and continue to serve the nation to this day.