Honouring 100 significant sites of the Anzac spirit

8 March 2018

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 complete 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.

MEDIA: Miles Godfrey | Premier | 0447 183 692 Shae McLaughlin | Minister Elliott | 0439 824 831

On this day

On this day
16 February

1942— BANKA ISLAND MASSACRE. Following the sinking of the SS Vyner Brook, many of the survivors, including 22 Australian nurses, reached the shore of Banka Island. Realising that their position was desperate, an officer from the ship set out with most of the women and children to surrender the group to the Japanese. The officer returned with 20 Japanese soldiers who ordered all the men capable of walking to move to hidden part of the beach and killed them. They then returned to the beach and ordered the 22 nurses and 1 British civilian woman to walk into the water. They were machine-gunned in the back. All the immobile survivors were then killed. Sister Vivian Bullwinkle pretended to be dead and was the only survivor