Lone Pines of Gallipoli an honour at Rutherglen’s memorial park

HOME: Rutherglen RSL's Neville Bainbridge, Indigo Mayor Jenny O'Connor and Indi MP Cathy McGowan plant a pine. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

HOME: Rutherglen RSL's Neville Bainbridge, Indigo Mayor Jenny O'Connor and Indi MP Cathy McGowan plant a pine. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

It’s been a long road for the Pinus brutia seedlings that were planted in the Rutherglen Memorial Park on Tuesday.

Two cuttings, originating from the Lone Pines that were brought back to Australia by soldiers returning from Gallipoli, were stored in safe-keeping at Beechworth for two years.

Rutherglen RSL sub-branch president Neville Bainbridge said the project, in conjunction with Indigo Council, was a significant one.

“One of our members was able to get a couple of these pines, very small at that stage, and in talking to the arborist he said he would look after them in his nursery – and that’s what happened,” he said.

“We only had the two, off the original Lone Pines, and they grew others off cuttings to give us this new avenue of honour.

“There are others scattered around Australia – it’s very special.”

Eleven trees were planted at the park, joining a new cenotaph that was unveiled by Rutherglen RSL secretary David Martin and Australian War Memorial Director Brendan Nelson in February.

It lists the names of 115 Rutherglen people who died in World War I.

Indi MP Cathy McGowan spoke of her connection to the area.

“When I was teaching at Wangaratta, I went over to Gallipoli, spending time there to get a sense of that war,” he said.

“I came back with a commitment to honour the people who had gone to fight – it’s taken me to the Kokoda Trail.

“Me being here is not only because my mother and grandmother played here (at the park) … it’s going to hold such memories.”

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