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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9261

Ms KATE ELLIS (Adelaide) (10:55): Hundreds of thousands of Australians would have wandered past the beautiful old oak tree out the front of Adelaide Oval but few would have recognised its significance. On Friday I had the opportunity to attend a ceremony outside Adelaide Oval at the old oak tree which I would like to update the House on. Few people would know that this oak tree was actually planted just 25 days after war was declared between the UK and Germany in 1914. As such, it is the oldest memorial which was planted to commemorate World War I. That tree has now grown over the hundred years since and on Friday we had a ceremony, along with the students of Sturt Street and Gilles Street primary schools, to recognise the 60,000 lives that were lost. This tree was planted a century ago so that people would never forget those lives. I can only think that those people who stopped to plant that tree would know that they had succeeded when they saw primary school students from two different schools studying the lives of those who had been lost.

We also undertook another important development on Friday at this ceremony when an acorn which had fallen off this century-old tree was planted. We will have a second oak tree growing outside Adelaide Oval so that local Adelaide residents will never, ever forget the lives that were lost in World War I. We know that, with the students each laying a wooden cross with the names and details of a life that had been lost, as well as poppies, around the new tree to mark the occasion, each and every one of these students recognised their significance and knew that they would carry this story forward. In future everyone who goes along to see the mighty Adelaide Crows, or to watch perhaps a test match at Adelaide Oval, will have the opportunity to recognise the huge significance of this local and beautiful tree in Adelaide.

I would like to particularly pay tribute here today to the founder and organiser of this event, Mr David Lawry OAM, whose vision is to commemorate the war with an avenue of trees. As a result of David's commitment, passion and dedication, hundreds of people recognise the significance of this tree. We will each continue to spread the word so that this story lives on, not just for years, not just for decades, but for generations to come.

I would also like to congratulate the students and teachers of Sturt Street and Gilles Street primary schools for their very active role in the commemoration of the war. I know that, with the centenary of Anzac Day, there is no more fitting time to recognise this and to recognise the beautiful 100-year-old oak tree in Adelaide.