News Page

Before & after – Our forest at The Australian Light Horse Memorial Park

Before & after – Our forest at The Australian Light Horse Memorial Park

The history of the land

For thousands of years before European settlement, the original inhabitants, the Taungurong people roamed the forested hills and grassy red gum river flats around the area where the Australian Light Horse Memorial Park is now located, in Seymour, Victoria. 

In the 1870s, it became the original army base for Victoria in the 1870's and home of the Light Horse Regiment.
In1978, the old Seymour Army Camp was sold to the local Council to be used for community purposes. For a number of years, it remained a neglected area of rubbish strewn wasteland on the fringe. In 1998, it was decided to develop this parcel of land as a memorial park that would recognise the contribution made particularly by the Australian Light Horse Regiments. The Park was officially opened to the public in 2001 and the Australian Light Horse Memorial Park is nowadays one of Australia’s most important military heritage sites. 

In 2006, Greenfleet was honoured to be part of the establishment of the Park's forest. Together with the help of Scouts Australia, we revegetated over 10 ha with 7,600 native seedlings. We planted around the outer edges of the Memorial and the open paddock that connects to the Goulburn River. We planted a range of native species that represent what would have existed in the area before clearing. The aim of this revegetation project was to re-establish the local biodiversity and to address the salinity issues that had arisen from the original clearing of land to create the base. This Memorial Forest became a cherished and historic part of the Australian culture.

How this forest has grown….

Despite harsh drought conditions after the initial planting, the seedlings took off fast and the forest was off to a good start. A small amount of infill planting took place in 2009, and this has seen the site achieve nearly 100% stocking levels. 11 years on, this historic forest has progressed incredibly well.

This before and after image shows the incredible difference of time. In 11 years, dirt and desolated land has grown into a forest with skyscraper trees and a flourishing ecosystem. 

Land manager, Lesley Dalziel, from the Australian Light Horse Committee of Management, recently shared her thoughts on the progress. “The trees have survived extremely well, even though they have been through some of the worst droughts and that was because the ground was prepared very well. The trees are doing very well,” said Lesley. 

There has been a noticeable increase in birds and invertebrate life since the planting. The revegetation project has reduced the leaching of salt in the near by Goulburn River, assisting in the health of the river. 

Greenfleet Forester, Eoghan O'Connor said "This planting teems with birds and insects, whilst kangaroos are now able to take shade through the mix of tall eucalypt trees and bushy understorey. The trees are beginning to naturally regenerate which offers further habitat for small forest birds. The planting now provides pathways for birdlife to make the journey from the remnant forest within the memorial, across this once broad open paddock towards the Goulburn River."
"Additionally the trees offer shelter for the animals as well as better filtration for the groundwater that fills the cattle’s drinking water in the dam," Eoghan added. 

Whilst the native forest supports the native wildlife and improve water quality, it also plays a vital role in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. The forest is forecast to capture 11,207 tonnes of CO2-e by 2036. This is equivalent to removing more than 2,500 medium cars from the road, for one year. 

We are proud to have played a vital role in transforming this land into a beautiful place of remembrance for the soldiers that once gathered here to prepare for war. As the forest grows, the Australian Light Horse Memorial Park will continue to be a place for future generations to experience and pay their respects amongst the trees.