This pine tree (Allepo Pine, Pinus halepensis) a native of the Gallipoli Peninisula (Gelibolu, Turkey), was grown from a cutting obtained from the War Memorial Canberra and planted in the Mortlake Botanic Gardens in 2002. It replaces the original which grew outside the Mortlake RSL Hall which blew down in a storm c.2000. That tree (Allepo brutius)came from 'the original on Gallipoli' and was planted to commemorate 'fallen comrades' in 'the Jubilee year 1965.' However, two soldiers first brought home pine cones direct from that fateful battlefield. . One was Sgt. Keith McDowell of the 24th Btn. His aunt, Mrs. Emma Gray of Grassmere (Vic.) planted the seeds c. 1928 and four seedlings resulted. One was planted in Wattle Park, Melbourne, one at the Shrine of Remembrance, one at the Soldier's Memorial Hall at The Sisters (c.15 km. south of Mortlake) and one at the Warrnambool Botanic Gardens.
The First World War (or 'Great War') and in particular the battle for the Gallipoli Peninsula is of immense national significance. Lone Pine or Plateau 400 was the scene of a major offensive on August 6th 1915. All the trees on the ridge at this point were cut down but one, which was dominated by the 'Lone Pine'. In three days of fighting more than 2,000 Australians lost their lives and seven Victoria Crosses were won. Two Australian soldiers souvenired pine cones - one was brought back to Victoria (see above). Many young men from Mortlake and district volunteered to fight in the Great War and the presence of this tree in our Gardens reminds us all of the local as well as the national sacrifice.
l pine tree
Inscriptions & markings
Small plaque on railing western side.