Narooma RSL proposes Dalmeny ANZAC Memorial Avenue to protect Cypress pines

The Narooma RSL sub-branch hopes to protect what remains of the avenue of Cypress Pines along Dalmeny Drive in honour of the ANZACs and to have a new memorial built at Dalmeny Kianga.

RSL members hope to secure official war memorial status for the trees and to have some kind of physical memorial or plaque put in place in time to remember the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1 in 2018.

A meeting between RSL and Narooma Historical Society members and mayor Liz Innes and council representatives took place on site at Kianga on Wednesday. Council is willing to entertain the idea has called for a formal proposal.

The charge is being led by RSL member and Dalmeny resident Peter Bernard who for many years has campaigned to protect the trees, including during the construction of the Dalmeny Narooma shared pathway.

“The first planting of the golden Cypress pines occurred in the middle 1930’s in the area now known as Wharf Road, Narooma,” Mr Bernard told the officials at the meeting.

“The selection of these trees was first instigated by the Narooma Branch of the CWA. A number of trees were planted by each member in that section between the Princes Highway, Wharf Street and Bay Street,” he said.

“Owing to their resistance to coastal conditions others were planted below this area. They provided extensive areas of shade and no doubt used for family picnickers, swimmers since those days. They are known in many countries as the ‘Trees Of Life and Death’.”

Mr Bernard went on to explain the trees of the same species were planted later on from Centenary Drive to the treatment works causeway at Kianga. There was no formed road at that time and area was essentially undeveloped.

Then the Dalmeny Progress Association raised enough money to plant 100 trees along what is now known as Dalmeny Drive and 19 along Ocean Parade, he said. The council’s Coastal Reserve Assessment Report indicates these were planted in 1971 as part of an Anzac Memorial.

Other references were made under the auspices of the Dalmeny Progress Association by Beryl Whitham who wrote ‘Dalmeny - History of Settlement 1880-1987’. It is believed the planting of these followed on from those planted from Centenary Drive and along Kianga Drive to the causeway until construction of current bridge at Kianga.

Mayor Innes suggested the RSL put forward a proposal on the concept that could be put to the full council in the New Year. She also suggested they contact the Australian War Memorial for assistance.

“Rather than looking in the rear vision mirror to see what we have lost, it is about looking forward to see what we can accomplish,” she said.

She asked whether the RSL would be willing to compromise if not all the trees could be saved or if they became diseased, and branch president Paul Naylor said the branch would and just wanted a level of protection for the trees that could be saved.

The sub-branch was also keen have the new Dalmeny ANZAC Memorial Drive dedicated on Remembrance Day 2018, the 100-year anniversary of the cessation of hostilities, Mr Naylor said.

Mr Bernard thanked the council officials for attending, including general manager Dr Catherine Dale and infrastructure director Warren Sharpe, and promised to work with the RSL on a proposal.

He said the sub-branch had already been in contact with the Register of NSW War Memorials, noting that there was no other war memorial between Narooma and Bodalla and the veterans and veterans families living at Dalmeny and Kianga would benefit from having their own memorial.

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