SPIRIT LIVES ON: National serviceman and Wooli resident Peter Curtis addresses the students of Wooli Public School, their famil
SPIRIT LIVES ON: National serviceman and Wooli resident Peter Curtis addresses the students of Wooli Public School, their famil

A lone reminder of the ANZAC Spirit

By JULIA ILES julia.iles@dailyexaminer.com.au

STUDENTS at Wooli Public School will soon have a permanent reminder of the sacrifices made by the original Anzacs.

RSL members, parents and friends witnessed the planting of a Lone Pine seedling at the school yesterday.

The planting of the seedling was the legacy of two war-wearied Anzacs who collected cones from the only pine tree standing over the site at the battle of Lone Pine Ridge on August 6, 1915.

Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded for gallantry in the battle.

Around 2,300 Anzacs and 8,000 Turkish soldiers died in the famed battle.

Grafton RSL sub-branch member and national serviceman, Peter Curtis, said the Lone Pine planted at Wooli was a living symbol of the tenacity and bravery of the wonderful Anzac soldiers.

"During the battle vicious bomb attacks and hand-to-hand fighting lasted for three days and three nights until the Turks abandoned their efforts to defend Lone Pine and retreated," he said.

Lance Corporal Benjamin Charles Smith of the 3rd Battalion, whose brother was killed in the battle, sent a cone of seeds from Lone Pine to his mother, Mrs McMullen, at Inverell.

She kept the cone for 13 years before using the seeds to propagate two seedlings. One was given to the city of Inverell, the other was planted at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and now stands 20 metres tall.

Sergeant Keith McDowell of the 24th Battalion brought back a cone in his haversack and gave it to his aunt in Warrnambool, who also donated the seedlings.

The plant at Wooli is a descendant of one of the seeds brought back.

Yesterday it was planted by the youngest student at Wooli Public School, four-year-old Eden Cansdell-Peck, with some help from the Grafton RSL sub-branch president Brian Bultitude.

Students entertained visitors with several songs before morning tea was served.



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