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Plaques shifted to reveal Memorial Ave's history

10 June 2005

Two little noticed parts of Christchurch history are to be given greater prominence in the next week when the war memorial plaques on the median strip at the Memorial Ave/Greers Rd intersection and near the Welcome sign at Christchurch International Airport are shifted.

The bronze on granite plaques, which commemorate Christchurch men and women who lost their lives in the armed services during WWII, will be re-located to the Clyde Rd- Memorial Ave intersection, on the verge near the service station, and to the verge near the Sudima Hotel at the airport end of the avenue.

These new locations were chosen following discussions between Christchurch City Council and the Returned Services Association (RSA), according to Council landscape design leader Dennis Preston.

“The plaques give Memorial Ave its historical context but few people would have found them in their present locations. People will have easier access to them and be able to appreciate them better when they have been shifted,” he said.

Memorial Ave was chosen to commemorate members of the armed services as many had trained at Harewood Airport, now Christchurch International Airport, before they went overseas to fight in WWII.

The two plaques, which were designed by former Council Superintendent of Reserves Huia Gilpin, were in place at the official opening of Memorial Ave by Governor General Viscount Cobham on 26 November 1959.

At the opening, the chairman of the Burnside Road Memorial Highway Committee Mr W W Laing appealed to users of the avenue to think at least once as they passed along the road that it was a memorial.  The avenue of trees down the centre of the avenue were to be regarded as a symbol of life.

The Christchurch RSA is planning a ceremony to mark the shifting of the memorial plaques.


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