Memorials to those who have served their country in war can be found everywhere in Australia, from the smallest hamlet to the capital cities. On some the list of names of the fallen is long while others remember just a few from the surrounding district. Every memorial is identical in that each records the names of soldiers lost in battle. The memorial at Legerwood in northern Tasmania is like any other in that respect, but the men of that town who made the ultimate sacrifice are remembered in a unique and moving display.
In 1918 the small town of Ringarooma Road, later renamed Legerwood, mourned the loss of seven fine young men, all killed in World War 1. On 15th October a remembrance ceremony was held at the railway reserve and seven trees were planted in their honour, as well as another tree at each end to commemorate Gallipoli and the Anzacs.
In 2001 the trees were assessed and the final report was heartbreaking for the community of Legerwood. The aging trees had grown too large and needed to be removed before they became a danger to the public. The townspeople refused to lose their memorial avenue altogether and in 2004 Eddie Freeman, a chainsaw carver from Ross, was commissioned to transform the trees.
In 2005 Eddie carved a likeness of each soldier from the tree that originally bore his name and included details from his life before the war. George Peddle worked as a sawmill manager before he joined the army and is shown with a crosscut saw and an axe. He was 25 years old when he was killed in action at Passchendaele in 1917.
John McDougall was a railway porter at the Ringarooma Road railway station. Aged 19, he was also killed in action at Passchendaele.
William Hyde died of his wounds in France in 1916 at the age of 27. He had been a sawmill hand in Legerwood prior to enlisting in the Australian Infantry.
Alan Andrews was helping to work the family farm before the war. He was killed in action at Pozieres in 1916, aged 19.
The Anzac carving shows a soldier playing the bugle and is dedicated to all Australian soldiers who served in World War 1.
Lest We Forget