The Lone Pine at Tatura’s Sacred Heart School was re-dedicated on Friday by Legacy Shepparton president Kevin Heenan, with Father Michael Morley conducting the blessing.By Bob Nicol
Originally planted on Monday, September 1, 2008, the planting of the pine commemorated the 90th anniversary of the awarding of the highest medal for valour, the Victoria Cross, to Tatura resident Private Robert Mactier.
At Friday’s re-dedication, school principal Trish Miller welcomed Mr Heenan, Tatura RSL president Robert Mathieson, other guests, parents, teachers and students.
Pete Finlayson from the Student Catholic Identity Team acknowledged the traditional custodians of the site prior to the singing of the National Anthem.
Angela Finn related the story of the ‘Lone Pine’, with school board chair Lisa Wagner reciting the poem In Flanders Field.
Ms Finn also gave a brief history of Legacy, saying Shepparton Legacy cares for 650 women and children annually.
‘‘They have done an amazing job for 89 years,’’ she said.
The Lone Pine was a solitary tree on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, which marked the site of the Battle of Lone Pine in 1915.
The original ‘‘Lone Pine’’ was a sole survivor of a group of trees that had been cut down by Turkish soldiers who used the timber and branches to cover their trenches during the battle.
The tree was obliterated during the battle, however pine cones that had remained attached to the cut branches over the trenches were retrieved by two Australian soldiers and brought home to Australia.
The resulting seedlings were found to be Turkish pines, sometimes regarded as a subspecies of Pinus halepensis (Aleppo pine), but usually classified as a distinct species, Pinus brutia.
A traditional RSL service, including the reciting of The Ode and one minute’s silence formed part of the re-dedication ceremony.
In re-dedicating the Lone Pine, Mr Heenan elaborated on its history and significance to the school and community.
He then presented the guardians of the pine in 2014, the current Grade 5 students, with certificates to record their commitment as guardians of the tree during for the ensuing year (pic next week).
‘‘The certificates signify the acceptance of your duty to the students of this school, to care for, nurture and protect this tree as a memorial to our war dead,’’ he said.
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