Light horse history preserved in sculpture
THE tree had to go, for safety reasons, but its incredible history will live on for generations at Gympie Caravan Park.
It is one of nine or ten, planted over an underground stream by members of the Light Horse, when they made camp on the caravan park site, making it their headquarters for many years in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Chainsaw carver Ken Magri took a long time to render the 3m stump into the beautiful memorial it has now become, on the site where the huge camphor laurel once grew.
Bulldozers and chainsaws cut out the massive three roots and the stump took three years to dry, Mr Magri said yesterday.
"It took three months to get the bark off it and it is protected by six coats of clear," he said.
The sculpture is so you can sit in it.
It is decorated with Australian beautiful representations of Australian fauna.
"There's even a scorpion inside, and if kids find it, they get an ice block.
Mr Magri says the mounted soldiers planted nine trees.
Caravan Park office manager Diana Rule says she thinks it was ten.
Both agree it does not really matter. A special war memorial, built around the stump, will permanently commemorate the courageous efforts of the Light Horse soldiers and their mounts, all of them noted for their courage and brilliance on the battlefield, especially in the Middle East.
"It's a unique memorial," Mr Magri said yesterday.
It took a long time to carve and a long time to cure, but the preservative qualities of the camphor wood tree mean it will last for many years, if not centuries.
A plaque on what amounts to a bar top dedicates it to "all who served in the Australian Light Horse."
Remembrance Day events
- Cooloola Cove - Veterans Hall, Nautilus Dve, 10.30am.
- Cooroy - Cenotaph, Diamond St, 10.40am.
- Goomeri - Memorial, 11am
- Gympie - Memorial Flame, Reef St, 10.30am
- Kilkivan - Memorial Park, Bligh St, 11am
- Mary Valley - Memorial, Yabba Creek Rd, Imbil, 10.45am
- Rainbow Beach - Cenotaph near Surf Club car park, 10.50am
- Tiaro - Cenotaph, Mayne St, 11am
- Tin Can Bay - Memorial Park, 10.45am
- Widgee - Widgee Cenotaph, 10.45am