Anniversary of the Battle of Lone Pine-->
Today, a century ago, a defining battle in a campaign that helped define a nation, began at Lone Pine, Gallipoli.
One hundred years ago, at 5.30 in the afternoon, soldiers from New South Wales’ 1st Brigade poured into the eerie haze of a battleship barrage just passed.
These soldiers, many just boys, ran headlong toward the Turkish trenches.
And by nightfall, at terrible human cost, most of the enemies’ front was in Australian hands.
But because of the position’s strategic importance the Turks were ordered to retake the position.
And so for three days and nights the Turks and Australians fought over a small of patch of earth on this desperate peninsula.
Private John Gammage wrote of the horrors of this terrible trinity of days:
The wounded bodies of both Turks and our own … were piled up 3 and 4 deep … the bombs simply poured in but as fast as our men went down another would take his place. Besides our own wounded the Turks’ wounded lying in our trench were cut to pieces with their own bombs. We had no time to think of our wounded … their pleas for mercy were not heeded … Some poor fellows lay for 30 hours waiting for help and many died still waiting.
By the 10th of August 1915, the Turkish had given up on retaking the position, the Allies held Lone Pine until the end of the Gallipoli Campaign.
Much of our history and at least part of our egalitarian ethos was created by those heroic few who fought over this otherwise innocuous piece of earth.
We should remember the horrors of war and the sacrifices of those injured or killed during this battle.
But we should also remember the providence of the battle’s name—Lone Pine.
The battle is named after a ‘single dwarf pine tree’ described by the war time historian Charles Bean a century ago.
This Lone Pine stood defiantly amidst the devastation and desperation of war, a small symbol of hope and life
A material reminder that even in the darkest and desperate hours there is always hope and life.
In hundreds of towns, across New South Wales, Lone Pines grow from seeds collected from the battlefield by a soldier mourning the loss of his brother.
These Lone Pines are a silent tribute to those lost in Gallipoli.
This day, a century ago, a defining battle, in a campaign that helped define a nation, took place at Lone Pine Gallipoli.
At the going down of the sun this evening—we should remember those who fought at Lone Pine.
And at the rising of the sun tomorrow, and in the hours that follow, our deeds and words should honour their memory.