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30-June-2019 (Jim Claven)
30-June-2019 (Jim Claven)

Photographs supplied by Jim Claven / Deb Stewart

The tree commemorates the Australians who served on the Greek Island of Lemnos in 1915 and 1916 during World War One. 

The tree is near the Gallipoli Memorial Garden and in sight of the Shrine of Remembrance. Other nearby trees are dedicated to units and service personnel with connections to Lemnos, including the 3rd Australian Light Horse Field Ambulance, 2nd Field Company Australian Engineers and the 6th Australian Infantry Battalion and the 8th Australian Infantry Battalion – all units who served on Lemnos.

The tree number is B37.  It is a cedar tree (Cedrus deodara), not dissimilar to those that which stand on Lemnos especially those which surround the castle that gave Lemnos’ capital of Myrina (its name in 1915, Castro or Castle). Its foliage is reminiscent of a Christmas Tree – another reminder of Lemnos’ connection to Anzac. It was on Lemnos in December 1915 that the ANZAC’s enjoyed an Aegean Christmas, with billie cans and puddings – many made in the nearby Swallow and Ariel factory in Port Melbourne - sent all the way from home for them to celebrate the festive season on the Island.

Following a proposal from the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, who also funded the plaque, the memorial was installed by the Shrine of Remembrance. It was unveiled on 31st October 2019 as part of the annual Armistice of Mudros commemoration which takes place in the Sanctuary of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

On March 4, 1915, about 3200 Australian soldiers landed on Lemnos. By April 21, about 200 ships had gathered at Mudros Harbour, the main port, and then left the island on the evening of April 24 for the dawn Gallipoli landings.

This week saw a dedicated crowd gathered on a beautiful summer’s day at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance gardens to witness the formal dedication of a tree and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque honouring the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign.

An initiative of the Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee, this tree dedication and plaque unveiling formally recognises the role of Lemnos in Melbourne’s pre-eminent commemorative space.

The service took place as part of this year’s Armistice of Mudros commemorative service at the Shrine. This recognises the Armistice for its bringing World War I across the Western Mediterranean and the Middle East to an end, releasing thousands of Allied prisoners who would begin the long journey home as the Armistice took effect on 31 October 1918.

It was my honour to address the assembly, drawing their attention to the significance of the day in the history of the Hellenic link to Anzac. Not only did Lemnos play this important role in the ending of the war but the same Mudros Bay where the Armistice was concluded aboard the British warship HMS Agamemnon, was also the place where the Anzacs had assembled before the landings at Gallipoli more than three years earlier.

Lemnos and the shores of the bay had played host to the tens of thousands of Australian and other Allied troops that came to Lemnos throughout the campaign – whether that was to train, be treated in its many field hospitals or to rest and recuperate. There were 130 Australian nurses who served in two of the three Australian field hospitals on the Island throughout the campaign providing essential medical care to the wounded and sick. And 148 Australians were buried across East Mudros and Portianos Military Cemeteries, amongst the other 1,300 Allied dead buried there. But these Australians also enjoyed the hospitality of the island, visiting its villages and churches, eating its food and drinking its beverages, bathing in the Islands mineral springs baths and otherwise enjoying this beautiful island in the northern Aegean.
Jim Claven, Neos Cosmos, 6 November 2019.


Address:Birdwood Avenue, Shrine Reserve, Melbourne, 3000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.830139
Long: 144.974263
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Tree
Monument Theme:Conflict
Approx. Event Start Date:March-1915
Approx. Event End Date:January-1916
Designer:Shrine of Remembrance, Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Council


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 31st October, 2019
Front Inscription

         LEMNOS 1915 - 16
Dedicated To The Australians Who Served
On The Greek Island Of Lemnos As Part
    Of The Gallipoli Campaign
         Lest We Forget

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au