From the battlefields of France and Kokoda to Vietnam and Afghanistan, NSW’s international military history will be honoured as part of a new artwork for the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott announced the 100 significant sites where soil samples will be collected for the artwork, designed by artist Fiona Hall as part of the Centenary of Anzac commemorations.
The 100 international sites across 31 countries and jurisdictions have been carefully chosen to represent the State’s involvement in Australia’s international military history.
Ms Berejiklian said the project aimed to collect soil samples from 100 sites to be displayed in a ring set in the floor of the Memorial’s new Hall of Service.
“This artwork will honour more than a century of service, from 19th century battles to recent Australian peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Pacific,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Mr Elliott said the list of significant sites had been limited to 100 to symbolise the Centenary of Anzac, and did not seek to be a compete record of Australian battle honours.
“Of the 102,800 Australians who have died on active duty since 1885, all but a few hundred lie beneath foreign fields. The soil represents the ground on which the ultimate sacrifice was made, and where many who made such a sacrifice still lie,” Mr Elliott said
As part of the same artwork, the walls of the Hall of Service will also feature soil samples from 1699 locations across NSW that enlistees for the Australian Imperial Force gave as their home address.
Mr Elliott said it will serve as a focal point for future generations to learn about Australia’s military history as well as the service and sacrifice of our country’s defence personnel and their families. The Anzac Memorial upgrade will be completed in late 2018.