Soil from Garden Island to feature in a tribute to veterans

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author), ABIS Kieran Dempsey (photographer)

Location(s): Garden Island, Sydney

Topic(s): Centenary of Anzac, Garden Island, NSW, HMAS Kuttabul (I)

NSW Minister for Veterans' Affairs, the Honourable David Elliott MP, addresses the ceremony for collecting soil from the Garden Island heritage precinct for extensions to the Anzac Memorial at Hyde Park, Sydney. (photo: ABIS Kieran Dempsey)
NSW Minister for Veterans' Affairs, the Honourable David Elliott MP, addresses the ceremony for collecting soil from the Garden Island heritage precinct for extensions to the Anzac Memorial at Hyde Park, Sydney.

Soil from Sydney's Garden Island has been collected as part of an upgrade to the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park and a moving artwork by artist Fiona Hall.

The NSW Minister for Veterans Affairs, Mr David Elliott joined with Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead to collect a sample from the turf near Garden Island's historical Signal Station. The upgraded memorial will honour the site of the accommodation ship HMAS Kuttabul (I) and the 21 Australian sailors who perished in the Japanese submarine attack on Sydney Harbour in 1942.

Mr Elliot said the attack on Sydney Harbour brought the war home to many Australians, particularly in NSW.

"It is humbling to stand here today with Rear Admiral Mead and pay tribute to the service of those sailors," he said. 

"As we approach the 76th Anniversary of the attack, it is important that we continue to tell the story of those who served, and remember those who made the supreme sacrifice."

Rear Admiral Mead said Garden Island had made an important contribution to the history of NSW.  

"Garden Island's history belongs to the thousands of men and women who have departed from here in warships for service overseas, or worked in the shipyards, or called it home," he said.  

The upgrade to the Anzac Memorial is part of the NSW commemoration of the Centenary of Anzac.

In 2016, an art commission process took place and renowned artist Fiona Hall was selected to create an art installation for the Anzac Memorial extension. To honour more than a century of service and sacrifice, the project's ambition is to feature a sample of soil from 100 sites of military significance to NSW service personnel. 

The list of sites from thirty-one countries and jurisdictions will extend from 19th century battles through to modern Australian peacekeeping missions.

Soil from Garden Island will also be included as one of more than 1600 sites where people from NSW gave as their home address when enlisting for the First World War.