22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110

News

September 18, 2020

Martin Beck at the memorial tree site.

This week marked the anniversary of the planting of a street tree to remember Hunters Hill soldiers who served in the Great War.

It is thanks to people such as Hunters Hill Hero Martin Beck that the memories live on – now, 101 years later, and well in to the future.

The tree was planted on the corner of Alexandra and Ferry streets on September 13, 1919, by former Governor Sir Walter Davidson to commemorate the patriotism of the youth of Hunters Hill during World War I.

Historic records show that 402 residents of the municipality enlisted for active service in World War I. Forty-four were killed in action or died of wounds on service.

Belinda Allen, of Hunters Hill RSL Sub-Branch, said Martin of his own volition recognised that the memorial tree and plaque were of historical significance to the Hunters Hill community.

He set about organising a centenary plaque and plinth, at his own expense and effort, to commemorate 100 years of service since 1919, from people in the municipality.

With help and approval from Hunter’s Hill Council, Martin created a beautiful fenced memorial garden around the memorial tree with a centenary plaque and plinth, to add to the existing plaque.

“This very historical memorial tree and the two significant plaques are now enjoyed by all who walk along Alexandra Street and it adds to the streetscape and records the history of a municipality with a proud record of service and giving, which is still evident in Hunters Hill today,” Belinda said.

“Martin did this for the community to enjoy and remember.

“That’s now become a point of historical significance.”

Martin said it was while attending the centenary commemoration that he noticed the tree’s significance was quite unrecognisable and that the little stone plinth was facing the road.

“So that tree was planted in 1919 and the plinth and plaque were placed there at that stage and it sort of fell in to a state of no one really knowing anything about it,” Martin said.

He set about working with the Council to get the plinth and plaque moved a spot that was more accessible to the community for commemoration.

Martin also organised for some low-profile fence posts and chain to be put in place, as well as a second plinth and plaque.

“To remember Hunters Hill, 100 years on, and recognise the sacrifice that the soldiers made in World War I and beyond,” he said.

Martin’s late father Jim (James Beck) served in World War II and the Beck family have been involved in the RSL sub branch.

 

Help us to shine a light on other unsung Hunters Hill Heroes by nominating your hero today.

Please note that nominations for Hunters Hill Heroes will be considered for Citizen of the Year awards.

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Hunter’s Hill Council

22 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
PO Box 21, Hunters Hill NSW 2110
Tel: (02) 9879 9400