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Hall's Peace Garden opened

29 April 2016

In July 1919 thirty trees were planted on the Hall school site in recognition of the work of members of the Red Cross who had worked tirelessly in support of those serving overseas during the Great War. One of them was special - a juniper tree - which has become known as the Hall Peace Tree. It was planted by Susan 'Granny' Hollingsworth, whose son Clyde was killed in action at Bullecourt, France, in May 1917. Charles Thompson, teacher in charge at Hall Public School commented that "...the tree would be a living object lesson to the children of the Great War so happily ended, and should any quarrels at any time originate in the village, they had simply to visit the tree and fix up their differences.....".

Since it was planted the tree has been hemmed in by new buildings as the school grew, and until recently, somewhat neglected. A year or so back Friends of the Museum had the idea of creating a small 'Peace Garden', and in the process giving the old juniper some tender loving care. With the assistance of a 'Spirit of ANZAC' grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs the whole area was tidied up, the juniper treated by an arborist, seats and an interpretive sign installed.

Speaking on behalf of descendants of Susan Hollingsworth, Joan Christie, who is also a member of the Friends of the Museum, commented:

"When our great grandmother...planted the tree 97 years ago she would have been sad because her beloved son Clyde has been killed in the defence of peace. Another young man, Morley Brown, had given his life too. Perhaps some returned soldiers from the village, like Sid Hall, were there, remembering the years of conflict.......Our great 'Granny' would be delighted to see the tree today - an old, bent and gnarled giant, but still a symbol of the longing for peace".

The newly installed interpretive sign tells visitors: 'On the Centenary of Anzac, in 2016, this Peace Garden was created by the Friends of Hall School Museum and heritage Centre as a place of reflection'. There is a also a photo of 'Granny' Hollingsworth.

[Our picture from the opening ceremony shows (L to R) Joan Christie, Tinecka Charles, Eileen Wignall, Penny Baker, and Sally Hall grand-daughters all. Photo courtesy Bob Richardson].

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