On 15 October 1918 nine Turkish pine trees were planted in the tiny rural hamlet of Legerwood in North-east Tasmania. Family and friends gathered to plant a tree for seven of their loved ones from the village who fought in World War 1 and didn’t return. Two more trees were planted – for Gallipoli and the ANZACS. As the memorial trees grew, residents moved on, leaving only a few locals who knew their significant history.
81 years later in 1999, the trees were declared a safety risk and the memorial seemed destined to be lost forever. The community enlisted talented Tasmanian chainsaw carver, Eddie Freeman to bring the soldiers back to life in sculpture. In 2005, Legerwood was put on the map as Eddie’s beautiful work – The Legerwood Memorial Tree Carvings was completed. This much-loved and frequently visited spot has become a lasting tribute to the fallen heroes of Legerwood.
See the icons of the Apple Isle on this in-depth tour of Tasmania. Fly into Hobart for 2-nights and explore the Port Arthur Historic Site. Enjoy an epic Gordon River Cruise travelling to Strahan and Queenstown. Enjoy a train journey on the West Coast Wilderness Railway line before arriving into Tullah. Take in all the sights of Wine Glass Bay with an aerial view whilst exploring the Freycinet Peninsula before heading back to Hobart.
The Legerwood Memorial Tree Carvings stand proudly in a charming public park in Legerwood, just off the main highway. At the base of each tree is a plaque with the history of each of the seven men depicted in the carvings.
The plaques tell of men like Private John McDougall (aged 19) and Private George Peddle (aged 25) who both died on October 13th, 1917. Private McDougall was a porter at the Railway Station, which was behind where the memorial trees now stand. The carving shows him holding signal flags. Private Peddle managed his father’s sawmill and was a bushman and a bullock driver.
Another touching tribute is to Private Alan Andrews, the first soldier born and raised in the area to give his life. He died in France on July 25th, 1916, aged 19. A farmhand on his family’s property, Private Andrews is depicted with his beloved farm dog.
When the Legerwood community was faced with losing an important memorial, they approached chainsaw carver, Eddie Freeman of Ross, in Tasmania’s midlands region. The idea was to retain the spirit in which the trees had been planted, carving each of the remaining trunks to represent the men they honoured.
Eddie, a self-taught chainsaw artist was excited to take on the project. A great deal of research was conducted to ensure Eddie had enough information about the seven men. Photographs were found so he could make the carvings as authentic as possible – not an easy feat with a chainsaw!
Carvings depicting World War 1 scenes were also included in the work and a Weymouth Pine was planted at each end to represent the Gallipoli and the ANZAC soldiers. Twenty-five individual carvings later and the community was thrilled with the result and Eddie has gone on to do many more carvings.
The tree carvings are in Legerwood Park in the small township of Legerwood, 95 kilometres from Launceston. The Legerwood Memorial Tree Carvings have become a popular rest spot for visitors travelling between Scottsdale, Derby, and Ringarooma.
Self-taught and self-employed chainsaw carver Eddie Freeman from Ross in Central Tasmania is the creator of the Legerwood Memorial Tree Carvings.
The tree carvings are in a small, grassy park with picnic facilities, BBQs, and toilets. Volunteers are often onsite operating from a restored train carriage, and offering gifts, souveniers, basic hot drinks and loads of information.
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