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Byron Shire
April 20, 2024

Bruns memorial pines in danger

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Patricia Warren, Brunswick Heads. 

It was the blokes from Byron Bay, Bangalow, Mullumbimby, Billinudgel, Burringbar and Brunswick Heads who had returned from the horrors of Gallipoli and the Western Front who planted Coastal Cypress Pines as a memorial to the Battle of Lone Pine along the foreshore of Simpsons Creek, Brunswick Heads. 

It was a significant battle in Australia’s military history.  ‘The dead were so thick on the ground that one Australian, Captain Harold Jacobs of the 1st Battalion, remarked “[t]he trench is so full of our dead that the only respect that we could show them was not to tread on their faces, the floor of the trench was just one carpet of them, this in addition to the ones we piled into Turkish dugouts.”’

History records that 8,497 soldiers were killed or wounded, of whom 2,277 were Australians. Seven Victoria Crosses were awarded.  Today, it is at the site of Lone Pine in Turkey at which the Anzac commemorations are held.

When a memorial was to be created in Brunswick Heads the land dimensions for the plantings were deliberately determined to represent the Lone Pine battlefield. The Coastal Cypress Pine was consciously selected as the closest native plant to symbolise the Lone Pine at Gallipoli.

Plantings were deliberately done in grid formation to represent soldiers. Plantings began in 1918 and the seedlings continued to be nurtured during WWII. Of the original hundreds of matured pines there are approximately  101 existing trees. These trees in all probability stand as the oldest living war memorial, only to be challenged by a stand in Western Australia.

The pines in Brunswick Terrace War Memorial Park are listed on the National Trust of Australia and the NSW State Library for their historical significance. Furthermore, the entire land area  is outside Council’s determined boundaries for the operation of the caravan park!

NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust has optioned to relocate all of the long-term tenants in The Terrace caravan park into the War Memorial Park. This will undoubtedly require trenching for sewerage,  water and power on the land that represents the Lone Pine battlefield.

Furthermore, the Trust’s own environmental consultant stated that a 5m radius needs to be maintained around a pine in order to protect its critical root system. Not only does the Trust need to explain how it hopes to relocate all the permanent tenants in this area without desecrating the memorial land and trees but, more importantly, why it is of the position that it can develop a war memorial for residential purposes when other options within the caravan park are available.

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