Coast council denies felled trees were part of war memorial

Yeppoon.  Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Yeppoon. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison ROK111215csalt2

YEPPOON residents have aired their outrage on social media at the removal of trees they claim are part of the town's war memorial plantings.

Speculation started on the Yeppoon Families group after an article published in community newspaper.

Dozens of people commented on the posts, describing their anger at the removal of the trees.

But Livingstone Shire Council representatives told The Morning Bulletin the trees removed were not protected on the Queensland Heritage Register.

The Yeppoon War Memorial listing on the register includes the avenues of trees, located over Anzac Pde, James St and Normanby St, as well as the Obelisk in Beaman Park.

As part of the lagoon precinct in the foreshore development, several hoop pines were removed from the southern end of Anzac Pde near the old hospital site, provoking outrage online.

The memorial trees were planted in 1921 and 1984 to commemorate Yeppoon servicemen lost in the First and Second World Wars.

"Together they create an integrated precinct of remembrance for the international conflicts in which Australia participated," the register stated.

"The First World War had an enormous impact on the Australian population.


A map showing the areas where heritage listed war memorial hoop pines were planted in Yeppoon.
A map showing the areas where heritage listed war memorial hoop pines were planted in Yeppoon. Morning Bulletin

"Of those who went to war, almost one in five did not return. It was common for families to lose more than one son and for small communities to lose a whole generation of men."

The register stated this unprecedented loss of life, coupled with the impracticality of visiting graves of relatives buried overseas, led to war memorials becoming a public expression of grief.

"Placed in prominent locations, such as planting of memorial trees in Yeppoon's main thoroughfares, they became symbols of remembrance and were considered to be as sacred as gravesites," the register stated.

In 1921, native Australian hoop pines, selected for their longevity, were planted at The Esplanade (later re-named Anzac Pde), James St and Normanby St.

By the 1940s, the pines in James St were struggling and most of the memorial plaques for individual soldiers, originally under the James St pines, had disappeared.

In 1984, Yeppoon Returned Services League and Livingstone Shire Council replaced the trees and plaques, extending the memorial to include soldiers in the Second World War, Korean War and Vietnam War.

"Palm Trees were planted in James Street and plaques moulded in brass in the pattern of the originals and set in small concrete cairns honour 29 Yeppoon residents," the register stated.

The memorial is spaced across three streets, with mature hoop pines on Anzac Pde evenly spaced every 2m.

The row extends around into Normanby St between Mary and Arthur Sts in the roadside reserve.

A row of coconut palms is centre planted in James St, with the concrete cairns carrying two brass plaques for individual servicemen.

Livingstone Shire Council directed The Morning Bulletin to the Heritage Register map, which shows the memorial area ending on Anzac Pde at Appleton Dr.

"The lagoon precinct is well south of the listed State Heritage War Memorial area which is officially mapped," a spokesperson said.

"Every one of those trees has been identified and will be fully protect as required by legislation.

"The War Memorial area starts at the Sailing club and extends north to the Surf Club and then runs west to encompass significant areas of both Normanby St and James St.

"The foreshore design team were required by both council and state legislation to ensure all heritage, environmental and vegetation matters in areas where development would occur were to be appropriately addressed and all protection matters fully complied with.

"There were also several levels of community and stakeholder consultations when both preliminary concept and final plans went on full public display for comment and community input.

"Council will be publishing the official State War Memorial mapping and all relevant updated foreshore development plans on council web and Facebook pages to correct any misinformation that may have been circulated on social media sites."

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