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Groundbreaking artwork honours soliders

Published date: Monday, 25 June 2018

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Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott today took a sample of soil from the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park, bringing to an end the Anzac Centenary Soil Collection Project, which has collected soil from 1,701 hometowns of WW1 soldiers across NSW.

The soil samples — recognition the earth is the final resting place of many fallen soldiers — will form part of a moving artwork by artist Fiona Hall in the upgraded Memorial to open later this year.

Since the project launched at Bathurst War Memorial Carillion in March 2017, soil has been collected from suburbs, towns and villages across the state, from Tibooburra in the state’s north-west, Cal Lal on the South Australian border, Rockton in the Monaro region, Tweed Heads in the north and everywhere in between.

“The $40 million upgrade of the Anzac Memorial is the centrepiece of the NSW Government’s commemoration of the Centenary of the Anzac 2014-2018, and so it is fitting we take the final soil sample where the Memorial was first dedicated in 1934,” Mr Elliott said.

“This important project will change the way we teach our children about the Anzac legacy and ensure the sacrifice and courage of our service men and women continues to be told for generations to come.”

The Memorial will also display soil from 100 battlefields including France, Vietnam and Afghanistan, which are significant to NSW’s military service and in commemoration of more than a century of service.

The upgrade completes the original 1930s vision by architect Bruce Dellit, which was unable to be realised when public subscriptions dried up during the Great Depression.

It will include a state-of-the-art education facility and a new Hall of Service beneath the Memorial, as well as a water cascade on the southern side.