More than 100 bronze plaques stolen from the Footscray Memorial Garden have been replaced in time for Anzac Day.
Thieves stole 111 bronze memorial plaques around Remembrance Day in 2015, causing damage estimated to cost more than $50,000.
At the time of the theft, Footscray RSL president Long Viet Nguyen said that it was devastating for the families of the fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives for Australia. The families had paid for the plaques.
Maribyrnong council has securely set 225 bronze memorial plaques in the garden, including 111 replacement plaques and 114 that had been removed for safe-keeping following the theft.
The Memorial Column on the Avenue of Honour has also been restored, with improvements including a recast bronze wreath.
The column, on Geelong Road near Footscray Park, was built in 1947 as a tribute to fallen World War I and World War II soldiers.
Footscray MP Marsha Thomson said the state government provided $18,000 towards its restoration.
“It’s great to see the Footscray Avenue of Honour restored to its former glory – honouring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” she said.
“We know how important this is to our community, and we want to ensure that future generations can visit this memorial and pay their respects to our local servicemen and women.”
Maribyrnong council has also finished planting 147 gum trees as part of the Anzac Centenary Boulevard Project. Mayor Catherine Cumming said it was important to complete the restorations in time for Anzac Day.
“The Avenue of Honour is an area of great significance to council and our community and serves as an ongoing reminder of the devastating impact the two world wars had on our community.”