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Velo-City: Perth » Riding down memorial lane

Riding down memorial lane

Themed rides are becoming more popular with WA’s cyclists, and one that offers plenty of variety is a War Memorial Ride. With more than 650 memorials in the metro area, you can easily customise the route.

 

            

Ride creator Bruce Campbell says he likes to vary the ride from year to year, and the aim is always to include as many memorials as possible while allowing time for contemplation at appropriate places. When Bruce Campbell rides it on Anzac Day, he often includes the Kings Park dawn service, which has become a focal point for many Perthites. But is by no means the only site of remembrance because all over the city and state, communities pay tribute to the fallen in more intimate ceremonies.

“There are a lot of memorials that we just don’t see,” says Bruce. “For me, and for some others, I think, the Anzac ride gives a greater sense of honouring the memory than attending a single service; I never anticipated that.”

Although it started as an Anzac Day ride, Bruce has also designed a route that allows people to pay their respects to the Vietnam fallen on 18 August each year, in recognition of the Battle of Long Tan. “I used to just focus on the Anzac theme but visiting the various memorials made me aware of the sacrifices made in so many wars, such as the Korean and the Vietnam wars,” he says.
This ride starts at Anzac House, 38 Kalgoorlie Street, Mount Hawthorn. Anzac House was built in a day by a community effort in 1916 to be presented to the first wounded soldier to return from Gallipoli, and more recently became the headquarters of the Vietnam Veterans’ Association.

Ride up Oxford Street, and at the intersection of Scarborough Beach Road and Oxford you will find Axford Park, named after Thomas Axford VC. Heading east, you can visit the memorials at Mount Lawley, Inglewood and Bayswater by following quiet suburban streets most of the way. From Bayswater, Railway Parade offers a quiet alternative to the busyness of Guildford Road and takes you all the way to Kelly Park, which allows path access onto the Guildford Bridge. Follow Guildford Road into the centre of the village, where you will find the Guildford memorial, then continue east to Midland, where the memorial is the town hall clock. Leave town on Morrison Road, which takes you to Swan View and then to Greenmount via Innamincka and Amherst roads. It’s worth making the short, sharp climb to the memorial for Captain Hugo Throssell, another VC recipient and the husband of the novelist and anti-war activist Katharine Susannah Prichard.

This site offers a good view over the valley. Having caught your breath, retrace your steps slightly to the Sunset Memorial at Blackboy Hill, the site of an army camp where the many AIF volunteers did their training before heading to Gallipoli. This is an out-of-the-way memorial, but worth a visit to see its unusual alignment of the monuments with a lone Gallipoli pine that catches the last rays of the sun.

The next stop is the Vietnam plaque at Bellevue RSL, then a ride back through Midland, this time past the old Railway Workshop memorial. Depending on your timing, you might catch the Anzac service and start of the Stan Gurney VC Memorial Race in Midland. Since 1952 this race, named in honour of a young WA cyclist and soldier, has been held each Anzac Day. Although originally a road race in Collie, it has been held more recently as a criterium.

                                       

After Midland, you can head to the Bassendean and Maylands sites. From here, follow the combination of paths and quiet roads back into the city, to finish in Kings Park, which houses the Vietnam Memorial Pavilion, where a service is held each August to commemorate the Battle of Long Tan.

Bruce says he tries to pick memorials that have some significance, or that his group cycles near regularly.

“Some are not obviously memorials. I don’t usually like to stop when I’m on a road ride but that sense of honouring memory has been heightened where we have had to stop and make a walk to the site. Often the simple memorials have a profound effect,” he says.

 

<em>This story first appeared in Australian Cyclist, September-October 2011.</em>

Memorial to slaughtered nurses at Point Walter

You can find a map of this ride here.

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