Lone Pine Tree takes pride of place in Tom Price
May 14 2018
Local Tom Price resident Ryan Coon, with assistance from his Mother and step-Father, Christine and Ken Melville, who reside in South Australia, started a project over three years ago to bring a Lone Pine tree to the Tom Price War Memorial.
Purchased from the Australian War Memorial Nursery in Canberra in 2014, the seedling was transported to South Australia where it was cared for by Christine Melville for the next three years. Once the sapling was deemed strong enough for the next leg of its journey, the young tree made its way across the Nullabor on the dash and floor of the Melville’s Hino bus, with regular stops so the young tree could top up on Vitamin D.
Ryan and his Mum coordinated the complex process of quarantine and customs to ensure the sapling was safely delivered into Western Australia and then up to the Pilbara as quickly as possible.
When crossing the WA border with all required paperwork and approvals in check, Quarantine Control Officers were happy to get the tree processed and on its way. Having seen many things cross, or attempt to cross the border, the Lone Pine tree was a first for them.
Once in Tom Price, the tree was acclimatised to the Pilbara and spent a few months by the pool in Ryan’s back yard. Once the growth of new shoots were underway, the precious cargo was delivered to the Shire’s grounds crew, who nurtured the tree for a further two months until it was given the all clear for planting at the RSL Memorial Park.
After living in Tom Price for 8 years, Ryan accepted a FIFO role within Rio Tinto and his young family moved back to South Australia. Unfortunately Ryan didn’t get the chance to see the pine find its new place of pride at the memorial, but his whole family are happy to know that their vision has become a reality.
This is an extraordinary gift from a long term community member that will enhance the town’s ANZAC commemorations for years to come, and the close knit Tom Price community looks forward to watching this sapling grow into a strong and healthy tree.
The Lone Pine tree commemorates the battle won at Lone Pine Ridge in 1915, though not without a significant loss of life.
After the capture of the Lone Pine ridge in Gallipoli, an Australian Soldier who had taken part in the battle, in which his brother was killed, found a cone and sent it home to his Mother. From seed she raised a tree which was then presented to be planted in the War Memorial grounds in honour of her own and others sons who fell at Lone Pine.
The Yarralumla Nursery in Canberra began collecting and propagating seeds from the tree in the late 1940’s and since then many seedlings have been distributed for commemorative purposes. In 1990, two pines were taken to Gallipoli and planted by a group of First World War veterans.
The Shire of Ashburton would like to extend our thanks to Ryan Coon, Christine and Ken Melville, as well as Rio Tinto, B Troop Pilbara Regiment and the Tom Price Cadets, who have assisted in the Lone Pine Tree’s journey into Tom Price and its new proud place of residence at the RSL Memorial Park in Tom Price.
As far as we are aware this is the only Lone Pine in Western Australia.