ANZAC Field of Remembrance

The ANZAC Field of Remembrance is an annual event held at St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney,[1] which is hosted by the War Widows' Guild of Australia NSW Ltd. The event involves the planting of wooden crosses in remembrance of those who have died due to their involvement in war.[2]

Field of Remembrance Young Family 2009
A young family look at the crosses planted in the ANZAC Field of Remembrance, Sydney, April 2009

History

The first Field of Remembrance in Sydney was held in 1952.[2] It was an idea that originated from the late Mrs C J Pope, widow of Rear Admiral Pope, after she had visited London and been impressed by the Field of Remembrance held each year in an old churchyard near Westminster Abbey.[1] In 1972 the Attorney-General granted the War Widows’ Guild of Australia NSW Ltd permission to use the word 'ANZAC' in the title, and the Field has been known since then as the ANZAC Field of Remembrance and continues to the present day.[3]

The Ceremony

A non-denominational service is held prior to Anzac Day at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, with a lesson read by the Governor of New South Wales.[4] The service is followed by the Dedication of the Field and the planting of the official crosses. The first cross is planted by the Governor in memory of The Unknown Warrior, followed by crosses planted on behalf of the three armed forces: Navy, Army and Air Force; the citizens of Sydney; New Zealanders and their armed forces; veterans; and war widows. The Field was originally laid out on the lawn adjoining the Cathedral near Bathurst Street. Since 2016 the Field has been in Hyde Park on the Corner of Park Street and Elizabeth Street close to the ANZAC Memorial. The crosses are planted in a set of flower boxes that are periodically used to decorate the City of Sydney.[5]

The Crosses

The small wooden crosses are colour-coded to represent the different armed forces. A sprig of rosemary is attached to each cross which represents a loved one gone but remembered. They are each personalised with hand written names or small messages.[5] After the Field of Remembrance is closed, the crosses are cremated and scattered on the graves of veterans in a memorial garden.[6]

Duration

The Field of Remembrance is open for widows and members of the public to place crosses in personal remembrance, from the day of the commemoration service until the late afternoon on Anzac Day.[4]

Milestone

The Guild held its 60th ANZAC Field of Remembrance on 19 April 2011.[7] At this service, war widows from major and recent conflicts laid sprays of flowers on the Chancel steps of the Cathedral. The Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO unveiled a plaque to recognise this milestone of 60 years.

Other Fields of Remembrance

Following the establishment of the Sydney Field of Remembrance, the War Widows’ Guild has also held Fields of Remembrance in Albury, Newcastle, The Entrance and Tamworth.[8] The War Widows’ Guild in the Australian Capital Territory[9][10] and Tasmania[11] also hold Fields of Remembrance.

References

  1. ^ a b War Widows' Guild of Australia NSW Limited (1946–), Trove, National Library of Australia
  2. ^ a b Department of Premier and Cabinet NSW (22 April 2009), Minister attends War Widows’ Guild ANZAC Service News Release.
  3. ^ Burge, Roslyn (2008), No Peacetime Cinderellas: A History of the War Widows’ Guild of Australia in New South Wales 1946–2006, Australia: War Widows’ Guild of Australia NSW Ltd, ISBN 9780646477374 (hbk.) p. 70
  4. ^ a b War Widows Guild of Australia NSW Website
  5. ^ a b Burge, Roslyn (2008), No Peacetime Cinderellas: A History of the War Widows’ Guild of Australia in New South Wales 1946–2006, Australia: War Widows’ Guild of Australia NSW Ltd, ISBN 9780646477374 (hbk.) p. 73
  6. ^ Burge, Roslyn (2008), No Peacetime Cinderellas: A History of the War Widows’ Guild of Australia in New South Wales 1946–2006, Australia: War Widows’ Guild of Australia NSW Ltd, ISBN 9780646477374 (hbk.) p. 71
  7. ^ War Widows’ Guild of Australia NSW Limited, “Our President’s Message”, Guild Digest, March 2011 p. 5, ISSN 1449-3691
  8. ^ Burge, Roslyn (2008), No Peacetime Cinderellas: A History of the War Widows’ Guild of Australia in New South Wales 1946–2006, Australia: War Widows’ Guild of Australia NSW Ltd, ISBN 9780646477374 (hbk.) pp. 75–76
  9. ^ RAAF Association (ACT Division) (June 2009), Field of Remembrance Ceremony Archived February 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Newsletter
  10. ^ "His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC, Speech, 20 April 2007, Canberra". Archived from the original on 2011-03-28. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
  11. ^ Office of the Governor of Tasmania (2009–2010), The Year in Review Annual Report

External links

Anzac Day

Anzac Day () is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served". Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the Great War (1914–1918).

Field of Remembrance

The Field of Remembrance is a memorial garden organised annually by the Poppy Factory in Westminster.

For eight days, from the morning of the Thursday before Remembrance Sunday until the evening of following Thursday, the lawn of St Margaret's Church, Westminster, between Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, is marked out with 250 plots for regimental and armed services associations. Participants are able to buy a wooden token of remembrance (originally remembrance crosses, now a variety of shapes for different religions, including for 'no faith') decorated with a remembrance poppy. The token is generally marked with the name of a member of the armed forces who was killed in action and planted in the appropriate plot. The packed lines of remembrance symbols in the separate plots can resemble a temporary military cemetery. After the Field of Remembrance closes, the crosses are collected and burnt, and the ashes are scattered at the First World War battlefields in northern France and Belgium. Any money raised at the event is traditionally donated by The Poppy Factory to The Royal British Legion.

The Field of Remembrance was first held in 1928, organised by George Arthur Howson, an officer in the British Army in the First World War and founder and chairman of the Poppy Factory. In the first year, there were only two memorials: one dedicated to "Tommy Atkins" (a nickname for a rank-and-file soldier in the British Army); and one to Field Marshal Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, founder of The Royal British Legion, who had died in January 1928.

The ANZAC Field of Remembrance at St. Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, Australia was established in 1952, inspired by the Field of Remembrance in London.

For the 90th anniversary of the Poppy Appeal in 2011, other Fields of Remembrance were established at Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh. A Field of Remembrance was also created at Lydiard Park in November 2011, close to Royal Wootton Bassett, in the shape 11-11-11-11, commemorating the 93rd anniversary of the Armistice with Germany at 11am on 11 November 1918.

War Widows' Guild of Australia NSW

The War Widows' Guild of Australia NSW Ltd is a not for profit membership-based organization whose mission is to promote and protect the interests of war widows in New South Wales. Established by women and for women in June 1946 the Guild has fought over the years to improve the financial and social circumstances of members.After years operating as an incorporated association, the NSW Guild became a public company limited by guarantee in 1998. It is a public benevolent institution with deductible gift recipient status.

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