A permanent reminder of Czechoslovakia’s identity has been installed at Josef Chromy Wines to commemorate 100 years since the founding of the country.
Distinguished guests, including the Czech consul general from Sydney, joined members of Tasmanian Czech and Slovak communities on Saturday for the planting of the liberty tree by Mr Chromy.
The food and wine entrepreneur was 19 when he fled his war-torn Czech village in the 1950s.
He then endured five months of hardship before immigrating to Australia.
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Mr Chromy was introduced by Czech Honorary consul Milena Mills who organised the function.
She said there could not have been a more suitable candidate to plant the tree.
“He’s already won so many awards, but he was touched when I asked him to do this,” she said
“It’s great to see him do it at his age, and the tree will be here for many years to come.”
Trees of liberty, which are Linden trees, were first planted in 1918 to symbolise the rise of Czechoslovakia.
The area was previously part of Austro Hungarian Empire, which collapsed at the end of World War I.
The new country was founded by Tomas Masaryk, who served as president from November 14, 1918 through until. December 14, 1935.
Mrs Mills said the peaceful transition to independence was something all Czechoslovakians could be proud of.
“He (Masaryk) strongly believed the country should be free and the best part about it was that they didn’t go to war,” she said.
“He convinced the leaders of the free world by asking why the area should still be under occupation.
“The people could speak Czech at home, but there were no Czech schools.
“He changed all of that and the trees are how we remember what he did for us.”
The trees have been planted at other occasions throughout the past 100 years, including the end of World War II in 1945, to celebrate liberty and democracy.
More than 3000 of the trees can be found in the Czech Republic.
They will be planted around the world on October 28 for the official Czechoslovak Independence Day.
Mrs Mills said the prevalence of other ceremonies in Australia led to an early celebration in Northern Tasmania.
“I’ve got a feeling we may be the first to start the tree planting this year,” she said.
“Given we invited the Czech Consul General, who has commitments in Sydney on October 28, we had to get in early.
“The tree planting seems to be happening everywhere these days.”