Local soil samples form part of commemorate World War I artwork

The hometowns of the Wollondilly men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice serving in World War I will be commemorated in an Anzac memorial in Sydney.

Soil samples from fifteen towns in Wollondilly will be collected and displayed in Hyde Park Memorial.

Soil from 1699 towns will be collected, treated and installed as an artwork in the hall of service, as part of the Anzac Memorial’s Centenary Project.

The upgrade to the memorial and the artwork will be completed by November 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of World War I.

Wilton resident and surveyor general of NSW Narelle Underwood said the artwork would be a fitting way to commemorate the centenary of NSW’s involvement in World War I.

“The idea behind the artwork will be to link the soldiers’ hometowns with their bodies that were left behind overseas,” she said.

“The artwork will allow people to reflect on the sacrifice of NSW’s men and women who served in war.”

The soil samples will be placed into jars and displayed alongside a plaque that will list the enlistees hometown.

“On the hall ground a circular artwork will also include soil samples from the overseas locations where troops served,” Ms Underwood said.

The soil from the towns will mark where the serving men and women listed as their residence or where their next of kin lived.

Artist Fiona Hall will create the artwork and it will follow the tradition of the memorial’s original architect Bruce Dellit.

The Centenary Project will allow the memorial to tell the stories of NSW’s involvement in all wars and peace-keeping missions and honour those who have served. 

Education facilities and reflection ponds will be also be installed as part of the memorial upgrades.

This project was funded by a $20.3 million contribution from the state government and a $19.6 million contribution from the Commonwealth’s Anzac Centenary Public Fund. 

As the surveyor general, Ms Underwood is the chair of the geographical names board, which has worked with Veteran Affairs to record the towns and soil samples.

She said she was honoured to be working on the centenary project and would attend the Picton Anzac service on Tuesday to pay her respects.

“I have always had a passion for the Anzac story,” she said.

“I have attended the service at Picton for a long time and I have been a Wollondilly resident nearly my whole life.

“And the committee organise the service well.”

Ms Underwood will collect the sample from Picton at Tuesday’s service.

All the soil samples will be collected by Anzac Day next year.

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