2020 marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War. To commemorate this important year, the NSW Government interviewed WWII veterans about their experiences. Read our 75th Anniversary Stories.
A Lone Pine memorial tree within the Gosford Memorial Park, marked with a stone and plaque.
Grafted from a tree planted 1934 at the Australian War Memorial by Duke of Gloucester 1934, the parent having been planted by Mrs McMullen in 1928 from a cone brought back to Australia by Lance Corporal Benjamin Smith whose brother died in battle for Lone Pine Ridge.
The Lone Pine - Pinus halepensis
Lone Pine or Plateau 400 was the scene of a major diversionary offensive launched by the 1st Australian Infantry Division on 6 August 1915. The Turks had cut down all but one of the tree that clothed the ridge to cover their trenches. The ridge dominated by the single Allepo Pine (Pinus halepensis) became known as Lone Pine. In three days of fighting the Australians lost more than 2000 men and the Turks losses were estimated at 7000. Seven Victoria Crosses were awarded.
As far as we know two Australian soldiers souvenired pinecones from the ridge that found their way back to Australia.
Lance Corporal Benjamin Smith of the 3rd Battalion, whose brother was killed in the battle for Lone Pine Ridge, sent a cone home to his mother, Mrs McMullen of Inverell in New South Wales. Mrs McMullen kept the cone for 13 years before planting the seeds in 1928. She grew two seedlings, one of which she presented to the town of Inverell and the other to the Parks and Gardens section of the Department of the Interior in Canberra. The Duke of Gloucester planted this second tree at the Australian War Memorial in October 1934. Today it stands over 20 metres in height.
SGT Keith McDowell of the 24th Battalion carried a pinecone in his haversack until the end of the war. Upon returning home to Australia he gave it to his aunt, Mrs Emma Gray, who lived as Grassmere near Warrnambool, Victoria. A decade or so later Mrs Gray planted the seeds and four seedlings were grown. One was planted in May 1933 in Wattle Park, Melbourne. Another at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne and another at the Soldiers Memorial Hall at The Sisters. The last was planted in the Warrnambool Gardens.
In 1990 two trees were taken back to Gallipoli with war veterans’ who attended the memorial service to mark the 75th anniversary of the battle of Lone Pine.
Since the 1980s many trees have been grown by both seed and grafting techniques from the tree at the Australian War Memorial. This tree is one of those trees.
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