FRIENDS OF WARRNAMBOOL BOTANIC GARDENS
Our Lone Pine is recognised as a significant link to Gallipoli and we were successful in a submission to the ANZAC Centenary Local Grants Program for funding to improve signage by the tree. Warrnambool Legacy, Warrnambool RSL sub branch and Warrnambool City Council also support our project for the Preservation Propagation and Promotion of the Lone Pine. We thank them and we recognise the contribution of Garden’s staff over 80 years or more, to the health of Warrnambool’s Lone Pine.
HONOURING OUR LIVING GALLIPOLI LINK
The headline above was how THE STANDARD (22/1/14) reported on a commemorative ceremony held the previous day to mark the 80th anniversary of the dedication of Warrnambool’s Lone Pine. When it was dedicated to the AIF in 1934 it was a rather weedy specimen of Pinus Brutia about a metre high. Today it is a weathered old survivor.
The low key ceremony attended by about 100 guests was organised by The Friends at short notice. David McGinness, Warrnambool RSL historian, had been alerted to the date by Lindsay Mc Dowell grandson of Sergeant Keith McDowell, the soldier who brought home a pine cone he collected from the battle ground at Lone Pine.
Lindsay McDowell attended the ceremony, as did Jean Giblett and Alan Gray whose grandmother Mrs Emma Gray, had grown the tree.
Back in 1934 the papers ran lengthy and detailed accounts of community events so we had a very good description of the dedication of “our” tree. The original ceremony was arranged by the Returned Soldiers Association in conjunction with the Progress Association as part of the Back to Warrnambool celebrations. We had been told that Ron Jessen, then a Scout, took part in the ceremony. Hence it was a double pleasure to have his son Graeme attend the anniversary as President of Legacy, an organisation that has done more than any other to keep alive the Lone Pine story.
The Friends’ Vice President Janet McDonald spoke on the Lone Pine Memorial today, reflecting on a visit she and President Pat Varley had made to Gallipoli the previous year. This was of particular interest to a group preparing for a visit to Gallipoli this coming April.
The event was rounded off with tea and ANZAC biscuits served from the rotunda.
The story of the Lone Pine impressed local federal MP Dan Tehan who said he planned to mention it in an address to parliament.
Both Legacy and the RSL have offered support, so our living link should live on to the centenary of Gallipoli and beyond.