• Date: 30/11/2018
  • Cemetery: Keilor Cemetery

A commemorative Gallipoli Oak planted at Keilor Cemetery will provide a lasting tribute to local community members who served at war.

The oak was recently dedicated at a ceremony hosted in partnership with Keilor Historical Society, under grey skies befitting the solemnity of the occasion. 

Among the attendees was guest of honour Judy Ralph, 81. Judy is a descendant of the four Anderson brothers from Keilor who fought at Gallipoli in World War I.

The Anderson brothers, who were Judy’s uncles, survived the war and returned home to Keilor. One of them, Donald, is buried at Keilor Cemetery.

GMCT chair Geoff Mabbett spoke at the dedication ceremony, along with GMCT CEO Jacqui Weatherill.

Geoff said the juvenile Gallipoli Oak planted at Keilor Cemetery would become a treasured community asset and a meaningful place for visitors to reflect on the contributions and sacrifices of Australia’s service men and women. 

Gallipoli Oaks were a familiar sight to Australian soldiers serving at Gallipoli in World War I. The small, prickly oak trees grew along the ridges and valleys of the Gallipoli peninsula. Acorns were collected by servicemen during the campaign and many sent them back to Australia, where some were planted. 

The tree planted at Keilor Cemetery was provided by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). It is descended from acorns sent home by Captain William Winter-Cooke during the Gallipoli campaign. The acorns were planted by his family at his home in Hamilton, Victoria in 1916. Offspring from these trees were later planted at the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance. 

Hundreds of Gallipoli Oaks have been planted in recent years to mark the Anzac Centenary 2014-2018, as part of the Gallipoli Oaks Project run by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). 

 

GMCT chair Geoff Mabbett (right) spoke at the ceremony and helped unveil the plaque at Keilor Cemetery.

Judy Ralph (left) was the guest of honour at the ceremony to mark the planting of the Gallipoli Oak. 

Susan Jennison, president of Keilor Historical Society (left) and John Jennison.