Unregistered avenues of honour in Gisborne and New Gisborne are at risk as the towns reshape for population growth.
Several of the 100-year-old oak trees have already been lost to road widening and duplication works over the years and residents fear more may be lost with no protection, while development and changes to road networks continue.
Gisborne resident and Macedon Ranges councillor Helen Radnedge said documentation confirmed the trees were planted in recognition of World War I soldiers, yet the memorials had never been formally registered.
“Without formal recognition the honour avenues are vulnerable to further damage and could eventually be lost altogether. They are important war memorials and should be recognised as such,” she said.
Cr Radnedge said many of the trees still stood proud along the old Calder Highway route: Melbourne Road, Sheedy Road and Calder Freeway in Gisborne and Ross-Watt Road to the current freeway, in New Gisborne.
“They are so well documented and still so clearly visible. Many war memorials in other places are less intact and less identifiable, yet are still formally recognised,” she said.
In November, Cr Radnedge was successful in her bid for formal recognition of both avenues of honour to be referred to the council’s budget process.
Gisborne and Macedon Ranges RSL Sub-branch president Robin Funston said there was a strong push from the club to get formal recognition for the avenues of honour several years ago with no success, and the club supported renewed efforts.
“The trees were not looked after well in the early days and we have lost some of them but there are remnants of them still around. It would be a shame if they all disappeared,” he said.
Information on the trees is being shared between the historical society, local residents and the RSL sub-branch.