This important tree is located at the Gundaroo Soldiers’ Memorial Hall and was planted by the Hall’s Committee. It has a small plaque atttached identifying it’s significance.
This tree is grown from seed of the Lone Pine (Pinus halepensis) standing at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, itself grown from cones collected after the Battle of Lone Pine, Gallipoli, 6 August 1915. The tree commemorates those who fought, and their families.
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 trees 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 at 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.
The plaque on the Lone Pine tree at the War Memorial reads;
After the capture of the Lone Pine ridge in Gallipoli (6 August 1915), an Australian Soldier who had taken part in the attack, in which his brother was killed, found a cone on one of the branches used by the Turks as overhead cover for their trenches, and sent it to his mother. From seed shed by it she raised the tree, which she presented to be planted in the War Memorial grounds in honour of her own and others’ sons who fell at Lone Pine.
The Yarralumla Nursery has been collecting and propagating seed from the tree since the 1980s and these trees have been disseminated to RSL branches and clubs, schools and other interested organisations.