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Lilydale Military History

Home > Melbourne > Unusual Things to do | Places of Interest
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published December 15th 2019
Although no battles were ever fought in Lilydale, there are numerous reminders of battles fought in faraway places in which Lilydale residents took part or commemorated.

The Main Street War Memorial, now called the Ralph Goodes Reserve, features the usual obelisk with names. Part of the memorial is the barrel of an 1843 manufactured cannon.

War memorial Lilydale
The War Memorial in Main Street featuring 1843 cannon barrel.

Lillydale Lake Militia. On a high point overlooking the Lillydale Lake, a detailed illustrated display gives the history of Monash Militia Camp. A bronze plaque mounted upon a boulder tells the history between the 7th and 14th of February 1914, when 3000 citizen soldiers arrived at the site for a week long camp of instruction as part of the compulsory universal training scheme.

Lilydale Lake militia plaque.
Monash Militia Camp plaque overlooking Lillydale Lake.


Info board
Detailed history of the camp.

RSL. The Lilydale sub-branch of the RSL in Anderson Street has a short obelisk mounted plaque mentioning the conflicts that Australia took part in.

RSL Lilydale
The Lilydale RSL sub-branch.


Athenaeum Theatre. The Athenaeum Theatre in Castella Street, has two large honour rolls in the foyer.

WW2 Plaque
The heading plaque for the WW2 honour roll.

One is to all those in twenty surrounding areas, from Croydon to Yering who served in WW2. I was surprised to find the name of an uncle who served in the RAAF during WW2.

WW2 honour roll
The WW2 honour board.

The other board honours those who served in WW1. There are over 1000 names listed, so if you are into family history you may find a relative listed.

WW1 honour roll
The WW1 honour board.

Churches. The Uniting and the Anglican churches in Castella Street, have honour boards commemorating all those who served in WW1.

WW1 honour board
The honour board in the former Uniting Church

Lilydale High School in Melba Avenue. On one external wall of the administration buildings a large mural commemorates the centenary of World War one.

WW1 mural
The large and colourful mural at Lilydale High School.

Melba Park in Market Street has two reminders of past conflicts. The Lone Pine and the Mafeking Tree.

Mafeking oak tree
The Mafeking tree, a large oak in Melba Park.


Mafeking tree plaque.
The plaque of the Mafeking tree.


Lone pine
The Lone Pine tree in Melba Park.

At the entrance in Melba Avenue, to the former David Mitchell Estate, (lime mine) a plaque on each of the two gate posts lists all employees who served during WW2. The mine is now closed, but the plaques will remain.

WW2 Gate plaques
The WW2 gate plaques at the entrance to the now closed lime mine.

In the refreshment rooms at Lilydale railway station, there is a framed roll of honour listing the names of 14 members of the Victorian Railways Gasfitters who volunteered for active service in the "Great European War" in 1915. The rooms are now closed to the public.

Gasfitters plaque
The Victorian Railway Gasfitters plaque.

Lilydale CFA, in Main Street has an honour roll of brigade members who served in World War one.

CFA plaque
The CFA plaque honouring members who served.

While not 'must see' tourist attractions, looking at an areas past history can be very interesting and educational. It may even show our children that there is more in the world other than what is on their iPad.
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Why? A must if you are interest in military history
When: Anytime for most locations.
Where: Lilydale. Melways map 38.
Cost: free
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