The Governor of New South Wales – Her Excellency, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC – planted the Aleppo pine tree (Pinus halepensis) as a sign of respect to those who fell during the Battle of Lone Pine at Gallipoli. Commemorative speeches were delivered by Ms Janet Carding (Executive Director, Harbour Trust), Mr Alan Toner (President, Mosman RSL sub-Branch) and Ms Jill L’Estrange (President, Headland Preservation Group).
The Battle of Lone Pine commenced on 6 August 1915, last four days. The conflict was named for the solitary pine tree that stood near the summit of the battlefield, and 2,277 Australians and 6,930 Turks were killed or wounded in total. For their decisive actions in the Battle of Lone Pine, seven Australians were awarded a Victoria Cross.
The pine tree planted at Georges Heights is a descendant of a pine cone that was collected from the battlefield by Lance Corporal Benjamin Smith and sent back home to his mother, Mrs Jane McMullin, who resided at Inverell in NSW. Benjamin and his brother, Private Mark Smith, were both involved in the capture of the Lone Pine positions; however, only Benjamin managed to return home.
The newly planted tree was gifted to the community by the Headland Preservation Group and Mosman RSL sub-Branch. It replaces another Lone Pine tree, which had been donated by Don Goodsir OAM and Phil Cannane, and planted along Best Avenue at Georges Heights in 2002. Ms Julie Goodsir – the Vice President of the Headland Preservation Group and the wife of the late Don Goodsir OAM – attended the ceremony as a representative of her association.
Georges Heights has a rich military history and, between 1916 and 1921, the area was the site of a large military hospital. Colloquially known as the ‘Hospital on the Hill’, it accommodated soldiers injured on the Western Front. To learn more, see: the history of Georges Heights
Images provided by Harbour Trust Volunteer Photographer, Ian Evans.
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