School puts down roots of permanent memorial garden



THE deeds and sacrifices made by nine Australian soldiers during World War I are set to be remembered for decades to come by pupils at Coolangatta State School following a dedication ceremony last week in which a Gallipoli pine sapling honouring the men was planted in the school grounds.

The sapling, related to the famed Lone Pine at Gallipoli, was planted in a special memorial garden at the school by school captains and war veteran Norm Smith from the Currumbin RSL, and dedicated to the nine men who were all Victoria Cross recipients.

The ceremony was held around the anniversary of the actions which led to the men receiving their VCs.

Mr Smith, a member of the Gallipoli Pines Committee made up of RSL and Department of Veterans Affairs representatives which has already organised four similar commemorative plantings at schools on the Tweed-Gold Coast this year, said further dedication planting ceremonies were planned.

Last week's ceremony was addressed by several VIPs including Division 14 councillor Christine Robbins, representing Gold Coast City Council, who said the planting of the pine was very important in that it would help young people remember and honour the sacrifice made by Australians during war.

Cr Robbins presented a book on the Gallipoli campaign on behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs to school principal Beth Jaques, who also received a war book from Currumbin RSL for the school's library.

Currumbin RSL chaplain Reverend Ben Clarke, in dedicating the tree, said it would grow as a permanent reminder of the men's sacrifice for all future generations.

The ceremony was held around the anniversary of the actions which led to the awarding of the VCs to Robert Matthew Beatham, Alexander Stewart Burton, William Dunstan, Alfred Edward Gaby, John Patrick Hamilton, Leonard Keysor, Alfred John Shout, William John Symons and Frederick Harold Tubb.

Nine small crosses bearing their names surround the pine sapling in the small memorial garden at the school.



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