The Avenue of Honour Ballarat is one of the most significant service memorials in Australia, listed as a landscape of national importance. However, in the past fifty years it was severed by the Western Highway and a rail crossing. As part of the Western Freeway duplication project, OCULUS was engaged by VicRoads to develop a design that would reunite the Avenue of Honour with a new contemporary addition to further build on the Avenue’s role as a regional attraction and place of commemoration.
This extremely site-specific work compliments the existing typologies of the Avenue and the nearby Arch of Victory, operating at both intimate and infrastructural scales. It does this through retention and reinstatement of the heritage avenue, acknowledging the character of the rural landscape, creating a major piece of transport infrastructure and establishing a new gateway for the city of Ballarat.
Custom perforated screens feature silhouettes that acknowledge the people of Ballarat’s involvement in World War I and those who died. Timber sourced from the site was reused in furniture and inscribed with commemorative messages, and large site-sourced rocks were incorporated into the new landscape.
The planting strategy included the creation of commemorative meadows to reference the poppy fields of Frances’ Flanders, with species selected to flower in autumn for Anzac Day and again in spring for Remembrance Day, as well as covering the overpass embankments with a textural patchwork of low-growing indigenous vegetation.
The project enabled the replacement of 80 senescent or missing trees; a native wildflower meadow incorporating 28,000 plants improving biodiversity, creating habitat and pollinator planting with a green infrastructure approach using Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), incorporating biofiltration, passive irrigation, contiguous soil volumes, structural soil and permeable surfaces to support the new avenue tree planting.
The project included the construction of a diamond interchange, two new single span structures, an interpretive area, signage, car parking, bridge barrier parapets, bridge abutments, replanting of sections of the Ballarat Avenue of Honour, and provision for pedestrian circulation and access along Remembrance Drive.
Remembrance Drive Interchange is an example of civic infrastructure with a strong sense of place that has reconnected communities. The project has become a true site of remembrance where one can imagine putting oneself in the place of another.
Channel 9 / Fairfax
Remembrance Drive / Western Highway, Ballarat, VIC