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Warrnambool's Lone Pine

Anniversary at Warrnambool’s Lone Pine

News Article Date: 
Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The 100th anniversary of one of Australia’s most famous World War I battles, Lone Pine, will be commemorated in the shade of Warrnambool’s own Lone Pine on Thursday.

The Battle of Lone Pine, part of the Gallipoli campaign, was fought between August 6 and 9, 1915.

The tree from which the battle derives its name was destroyed during the fighting, but Sgt Thomas Keith McDowell of the 23rd Battalion A.I.F souvenired a pinecone, bringing it home to Australia and giving it to his wife’s aunt, Emma Gray of Grassmere.

Mrs Gray was able to grow four trees from seeds extracted from the pinecone.

One was planted at The Sisters, one at Wattle Park in Burwood, one at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne and one at the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens.

The tree at the Shrine of Remembrance succumbed to a fungal infection in 2012.

Friends of the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens Vice President Pat Varley said that the tree was an important, tangible link to World War I.

“Now that all of the soldiers who fought in the battle have passed away, this is our only living legacy to that time,” she said.

“Thursday will be a day to commemorate not just the battle, but the story of the tree and what was happening in Warrnambool 100 years ago.

“Our tree is the best of the trees left and it’s still looking pretty good.”

Recent improvements to the site include new irrigation and interpretive signage.

Pinecones have also been harvested and sent to Melbourne for propagation to create a batch of “grandchild trees” of the original Lone Pine.

Former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu will be the guest speaker at the event, which is hosted by the Friends of the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens.

The commemoration will be held at the Lone Pine in the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens on August 6 from 4.45pm, with all welcome.

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