THERE was a bigger crowd than usual in Inverell for this year’s Anzac ceremony.
The day was bigger than last year and perhaps one reason for that was because among some of the stories being revealed, this year one of those was unveiled for the Inverell RSL by the Member for New England, Tony Windsor.
The story started near a ridge on Gallipoli where a single pine tree remained standing when a battle began on August 6, 1915.
All the other trees had been cut down to reinforce the trenches and it was called the battle of Lone Pine. When fighting began it took the Australians only 20 minutes to capture the Turkish main trench.
The Turks tried unsuccessfully to recapture it for the following four days of savage fighting. More than 2000 Australians died along with between 5000 and 7000 Turkish soldiers.
Brothers from Inverell, Ben and Mark Smith, fought in the 3rd Battalion and Mark was killed during the fighting.
Afterwards Ben souvenired several pine cones from the pine branches used to cover the trenches and sent them home to his mother.
In 1928 she successfully grew two seedlings. One she presented to the town of Inverell where it survived until 2007 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 more than 20 metres tall.
Timber from the felled Inverell ‘Lone Pine’ was salvaged in 2007 and now the story of the battle and the brothers appears on a crafted plaque made from the timber.
Sectretary of Inverell RSL, Hans Mouthaan, said the plaque will go into the foyer of the RSM Club along with a limited edition print of the battle scene.
“It’s a story, it’s history and it is up to us to preserve that history,” Hans said.
Originally Hans was searching on the Internet for something he could do in glass when he ran across a company called Potato Press.
He saw the rising sun done on timber with laser printing and was impressed, so rang them.
He told them about the timber he had from the pine tree and said he wanted to create something that told the story of Lone Pine.
“We swapped ideas and they came up with more ideas and then they came up with that and it blew me out of the water and I said that’s what I want,” Hans said.
“Then I applied for a grant through Saluting their Service and the government was kind enough to provide the funds to be able to do that.
“We’re extremely proud of it. It links us with Turkey, it links us with Gallipoli. That’s from pinecone that came from there. It’s a direct link and I think that it’s important to let the younger people know. You can tell bey the amount of young people who go to Gallipoli, it’s like a rite of passage.
“It’s important because, righto, we’ve got our own story to tell here, but it’s all part of the big story that happened over there.”
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