Honouring the sacrifice

Descendants of the Gallipoli Lone Pine tree will be donated by Hume City Council to the Sunbury RSL, Craigieburn War Memorial and Remembrance Committee, the Turkish community and Maygar Barracks, to offer a place to reflect on one of the bloodiest battles on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Hume Mayor, Councillor Adem Atmaca, said today.

The trees (botanical name: Pinus Brutia) will be planted by the Sunbury RSL and Maygar Barracks this Saturday as part of Anzac Day commemorations.

It is expected that the Craigieburn War Memorial and Remembrance Committee and the Turkish community will plant their trees in the coming months at other occasions to mark the centenary.

Cr Atmaca said the Anzac Centenary 2014 – 2018, which commemorates our nation’s involvement in the First World War, is an opportunity to say thank you for more than a century of service by Australian servicemen and women.

“These magnificent trees symbolise the enormous sacrifices made by both Australian and Turkish soldiers in the Battle of Lone Pine, which was a brutal and tragic conflict,” Cr Atmaca said.

“They also help us to reflect upon the bonds forged at Gallipoli between Australia and New Zealand, where the Anzac spirit was born, as well as the strong friendship which subsequently developed between Australia and Turkey.

“I hope the trees will offer a special place where people can reflect on all wars, and remember those who so sadly never came home.”

The Battle of Lone Pine refers to a combat at what was later named Lone Pine Ridge, where Turkish soldiers had established trenches made of felled pine trees.

When the campaign commenced on 6 August 1915, only one lone tree remained, but it was soon destroyed in the battle.

While the Australian diggers captured the main Turkish trench in just 20 minutes, the fighting continued for another four days and resulted in the deaths of more than 2000 Australians and approximately 5000-7000 Turkish soldiers.

After the battle, at least two Australian diggers took pine cones from Lone Pine Ridge.

Sergeant Keith McDowell, from 23rd Battalion, secured pine cones from the actual Lone Pine, and he kept them in his rucksack until returning to Australia.

The digger gave the pine cones to his aunty, Emma Gray, who lived at Warrnambool and she planted their seeds, which resulted in four trees.

In 1933, one of these pine trees was planted at the Shrine of Remembrance, and its seeds have since propagated another 500 trees.

Cr Atmaca said that the Council’s donation of Gallipoli Lone Pine descendants paid tribute to Hume’s close links with World War I.

“The Anzac Centenary is very important to Hume City Council because the fields of Broadmeadows offered many diggers their last experience of Australian life before they headed
overseas,” he said.

“Our community is now home to more Turkish people than any other local government area in Australia, and the events on the battlefields of Turkey helped to subsequently bind Australia and Turkey in a long-lasting friendship.”

The donation of mature pines is an initiative of Council’s Anzac Centenary Community Committee, which recommended a range of activities that it regarded as appropriate to mark the
centenary and that encouraged participation from the whole of the community.

Plaques will also be provided which note that the pines were a donation from Hume City Council as part of the Anzac Centenary commemorations.

Hume City Council encourages residents to attend an Anzac Day service:

• The Sunbury RSL will hold a Dawn Service between 6am and 7am, as well as a traditional service including a march from the train station on Brook Street to Barkly Street, finishing at the Memorial Hall from 10.30 to 11.30am.

• The Craigieburn War Memorial and Remembrance Committee has organised a march starting at 9.50am and a Service from 10am at the Craigieburn SES Headquarters, 151 Craigieburn Road. The ceremony will be conducted by Epping RSL Sub-Branch and will be hosted by the Craigieburn Unit of the SES.

• A Dawn Service and the planting of a Gallipoli Lone Pine descendent tree will be held at the Maygar Barracks, Camp Road, Broadmeadows, from 5.45am on Anzac Day.

Posted on 12:00 AM, 24 April 2015

Updated : 9:38 AM, 24 April 2015

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