The Mount Waverley Avenue of Honour, located at 464-492 High Street, was planted to commemorate the First World War. The trees were a tribute from the people of Mount Waverley, and were planted by the local community at what was the centre of the town. Portugal Oak trees were selected because of their long life and freedom from disease. Each tree planted represented one local service person who served in the war and originally a plaque noted each person's name at the base of each tree, these are no longer intact. The trees once lined both sides of the street, today only a single line of mature Portugal Oaks exists along the nature strip on southern side of High Street Road, between Fleet Street and Baringa Street.
In Australia, commemorative trees have been planted in public spaces since the late nineteenth century. Arbor Days were held regularly in most Victorian State Schools during the late 1800s and early 1900s, and numerous trees were planted in parks in Melbourne and throughout Victoria to mark the visits of important and famous people.
This tradition of commemorative planting was continued in 1901 when at the end of the Boer War trees were often planted for each soldier of the district who was killed in South Africa. These plantings, however, rarely consisted of more than two or three trees in each town.
During and after the First World War avenues of honour consisting of trees lining significant streets became a popular form of commemoration. They represented a new egalitarian approach to the commemoration of soldiers where rank was not a consideration: each tree symbolises a person.
Avenues of honour are a uniquely Australian phenomenon. Australians, and in particular Victorians, embraced the idea of planting them more enthusiastically than any other country in the world. The earliest known planting of an avenue of honour in Victoria is at Eurack which commenced in May 1916.
By the time of the Second World War avenues of honour had declined in popularity as a means of commemoration. Today it is estimated that over 300 avenues of honour have been planted in Victoria to commemorate service personnel since 1901.