29 May 2014
The second annual National Trust Gallipoli Oaks acorn harvest was launched today at Geelong Grammar by Mr Ramsay MLC, an old Grammarian and Member for Western Victoria. Mr Ramsay announced that a $7000 Anzac Centenary Community Grant had been made for the Gallipoli Oaks Project. The story was covered by ABC news. Mr Ramsay said “This grant will contribute to commemorative plaques to accompany the National Trust Gallipoli Oak seedlings to primary schools around Victoria.” Mr Ramsay urged all primary schools in Victoria to get involved in this ‘green’ remembrance project. “Created in 2012, this National Trust project aims to deliver a Gallipoli Oak tree to every primary school in Victoria between 2015 and 2018. This is project is very much about our history and our future all in one,” he said.
The National Trust of Australia’s (VIC) Gallipoli Oaks Project draws on a 99-year long connection between Geelong Grammar and Gallipoli, and involves former Geelong Grammar boy Captain William Lempriere Winter Cooke. Captain Winter Cooke, while at Gallipoli, sent home acorns to his family near Hamilton. One of the acorns in the package he sent home was given to his alma mater Geelong Grammar, and planted on 4 August 1916 by Winter Cooke’s brothers and senior prefect, J A de L Affleck.
The timing for this harvest is perfect right now as the unique trees, cared for by Grounds Supervisor at Geelong Grammar, Matthew Hanrahan, are completely laden with acorns and ready for harvesting. Mr Hanrahan said, “we are very lucky to be involved in this exciting program and we are happy that our Quercus calliprinos acorns can be put to good use. This unique tree is very slow growing, but has good drought tolerance once established. They are multi-trunked with branches to the ground so they can be used for windbreaks or uplifted to become a fine shade tree.”
The acorns collected today will be potted and nurtured by the Friends of Burnley Gardens, Nationwide Trees, Mt William Advanced Tree Nursery and Smith and Gordon Wholesale Nursery, who have all donated their resources to raise the rare Gallipoli Oaks seedlings. Once they are big enough, the trees will be planted by primary schools around Victoria during remembrance services, with the support of local RSL sub-branches. All Victorian Primary Schools are encouraged to make use of the teacher’s resource kit and eBook telling the story about the surviving original Gallipoli Oaks to bring the remembrance message of the project into the classroom.
The National Trust acknowledges the generous support already received from the Danks Trust and the Victorian Government. More details of the Project at www.gallipolioaks.org.