The War Memorial Soil Collection Program being undertaken by one of Australia’s most prominent contemporary artist, Fiona Hall, endeavours to collect soil from every location around Australia where there was an enlistee in WWI – including Merrylands Remembrance Park and Auburn War Memorial.
Merrylands Remembrance Park and Auburn War Memorial are two of 11 sites across Cumberland where soil will be collected. In October, the first local soil sample was taken from Granville War Memorial. The second was taken earlier in November from Wentworthville Public School.
These soil samples will be displayed in the new Hall of Service at the ANZAC War Memorial in Hyde Park where visitors will be able to view interesting information on each listed location via digital devices.
In 2016, Ms Hall was selected through an art commission process to create an artwork for the ANZAC Memorial’s new Hall of Service – a civic space that architecturally and artistically mirrors the Hall of Memory in the original building.
Ms Hall proposed that a plaque be created for every town, suburb and locality around NSW that enlistees for the First World War gave as their place of address.
Close to 1,700 plaques will be displayed on mass around the walls of the Hall of Service and a sample of soil collected from the area will be displayed alongside the place name.
Information will include the details and date the local soil was collected, the names of every enlistee who gave that location as their home address, and pinpointed maps showing the local area and its surrounding memorials and schools.
“To have so many sites across Cumberland is a nod to the brave people that lived in the area a century ago,” Mayor Cummings said.
“These families were vital to building the spirit of our area, and while Cumberland has significantly changed from the agricultural centre it used to be, the same spirit is still reflected in the people that live here today.
“Soil from Cumberland suburbs will soon proudly sit within the new Hall of Service at the ANZAC War Memorial in Hyde Park.
“The samples collected from Cumberland will encapsulate Cumberland’s early history.”
Further information about the Soil Collection program is available at: http://www.anzacmemorial.nsw.gov.au/anzac-memorial-centenary-project/soil-collection-program.