Gallipoli Oaks Project30 March 2014
Victoria's Minister for Education Martin Dixon and Minister for Veterans' Affairs Damian Drum today officially launched the Gallipoli Oaks Project that will see up to 2,000 Gallipoli Oak trees planted in Victorian primary schools.
The Gallipoli Oaks Project is led by the National Trust and is supported by $10,000 from the Victorian Coalition Government's Veterans Council Grants Program.
"The Gallipoli Oaks Project will provide all primary schools in Victoria with a Gallipoli oak seedling to plant as an ongoing commemoration of Australia's participation in World War I," Mr Dixon said.
"Support for the Gallipoli Oaks Project has been fantastic, with more than 250 primary schools already registering at the project's website."
Schools will also receive a teacher resource kit and digital e-book developed by the History Teachers' Association of Victoria and a plaque to mark the occasion.
The Gallipoli Oak is a small, prickly tree that grew along the ridges and valleys of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Acorns were collected by soldiers, including General Sir John Monash, during the Gallipoli campaign and planted in Australia.
Mr Drum said seedlings from a tree planted by a solider in 1916 at a property in Hamilton are now planted at the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.
Seeds from the same tree will be provided to schools between 2015 and 2018 for ceremonial planting on significant dates such as Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
"With the support of the Victorian Coalition Government, the Gallipoli Oaks Project will help the next generation of young Victorians to deepen their understanding of the Anzac campaign, and, in particular, the participation of Victorians," Mr Drum said.
"The Gallipoli Oaks Project also celebrates the ongoing friendship between Australia and Turkey and recognises the significance of the Gallipoli campaign in the history of both nations."
The Gallipoli Campaign, which took place between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916 on the Gallipoli Peninsula in south-western Turkey, is considered a defining moment in Australian and Turkish history. The campaign was the first major battle involving Australian and New Zealand troops, costing the lives of more than 8,000 Australians.
More information about the project is available at: www.nationaltrust.org.au/vic/GallipoliOaksProject