Between 1956 and 1965 Sir Cecil Hoskins and his team of supporters and volunteers planted out a 34 area site of the Sydney to Canberra Remembrance Driveway along the Hume Highway at Berrima. Queen Elizabeth inaugurated the Driveway project during the Royal Visit in 1954.
The construction and maintenance of the new VC Memorial rest stops on the new Motorway from Sydney to Canberra stretched the resources available to the NSW Remembrance Driveway Committee (RDC) to maintain the older plantations on the Old Hume Highway. Recognising the significant historical, heritage and environmental importance of the plantation at Berrima, the Berrima Residents Association (BRA) began discussions with the NSW Remembrance Driveway Council (formally Committee) to assume responsibility for the maintenance and improvement of the site just south of the Medway Road and Old Hume Highway roundabout/intersection.
The Association addressed Shire Councillors in March on our plans and held a community meeting on site in May 2019. Discussions continued in the second half of 2019 between the BRA and the RDC on the terms of a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which sets out the responsibilities of both parties and provides a legal framework for the BRA to assume the role of custodian of the Berrima section of the Driveway. During 2019, the Association engaged local landscaping contractor Steve Webb to mow accessible parts of site.
The MOU was signed by Air Commodore Ian Scott AM on behalf of the RDC and Dr Eric Savage on behalf of the BRA on 19 December 2019. The Association wishes to acknowledge the generous support from the Driveway Council to the BRA for this work.
In accordance with the provisions of the MOU, the Berrima section of the Sydney to Canberra Remembrance Driveway was renamed the Berrima Remembrance Grove.
The current metal Driveway signs on the site will be replaced and installed on the site. The Rotary Club of the Berrima District has generously offered to assist with the physical installation of these new signs once a Berrima Remembrance Grove logo is designed.
Under the terms of the MOU, the Association assumes the custodianship of the plantings, plaques or signs other artefacts in the Grove and will maintain the Grove as a place of public remembrance and reflection in honour of the sacrifice of Australian servicemen and women in war, armed conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
The Association will meet the cost of maintenance and improvements from its own resources, donations, fundraising and government and non-government grants and develop a set of best-practice guidelines to manage the on-going maintenance of the trees, grassed areas and plaques in the Grove.
In February 2020, supported by a Heritage Grant from Wingecarribee Shire Council the BRA contracted with Ginkgo Arbor to undertake major work removing dead and fallen trees from across the site. The dead trunks and branches were pulped and the mulch generated moved to 6 large large piles across the site and later dispersed around individual trees by “Bobcat Bill” from Blue Ridge Logging and General Haulage.
The Association is currently planning for the preparation of a Conservation Management Strategy, which will establish the conservation, interpretation and heritage policies, specific operational plans and program of capital work for the future management of the Grove. The Southern Highlands Branch of the Australian Garden History Society has generously offered to support this work.