Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs opened the Australian Memorial Garden in the Passchendaele Memorial Park
On Monday, 24 April 2017 the Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan, opened the Australian Memorial Garden In the Passchendaele Memorial Park. The ceremony was attended by the Australian ambassador and several other dignitaries. Also several Zonnebeke youngsters were present to commemorate the Australian victims of the First World War.
Commemoration with symbolism
Australia suffered heavy losses in the First World War. In October 1917 alone they suffered more than 6,600 casualties around Passchendale. The Australian Memorial Garden and the artwork honours those who died here, often in anonymous graves. Eyecatcher of the garden is the artwork of glass bowl-shaped structures. Based on the shape of a Brodie helmet, the bowls refer to the water-filled craters that covered the devastated landscape, and speak of the fragility of life and lives poured out for others. The use of glass recalls Australia's role at the forefront of glass-making during WWI. Embedded in the glass are small copper pellets reclaimed from e-waste to remember the life of Australians consumed in the furnace of war, and to honour their memory as deeply significant and relevant to carry forward into the future. The under planting and mulching of the garden speak of the mixed zones of Australian environments. While these plants are bursting with life, the crater that has been formed beside them represents the destructive force of war and how it tears apart the landscape. Together with the eucalyptus trees planted according to the pattern of the Australian flag, this symbolizes the many hardships of Australian men and women during the First World War.
Seven poppy gardens
The Australian Memorial Garden is one of the seven gardens in the shape of a poppy in the thematic Passchendaele Memorial Park. At the request of the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, different nations who fought in the First World War are involved in the design and construction of their garden.
“In 2015 and 2016, the German and American Memorial Gardens were opened. On the occasion of '100 years battle at Passendale' we will open the British, New Zealand and Canadian Memorial Gardens later this year. The inauguration of the Belgian garden will take place in 2018", said Sabine Vanderhaeghen, Alderman commemoration 14-18 and president MMP1917.
'It is a wonderful tribute to the Australian soldiers who fought so the Belgian people can enjoy the freedoms that they have today', said Dan Tehan, Australian Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.