The gates at the entry to Aberdare cemetery pay tribute to dozens of local Diggers who answered the call to fight in World War I.
Aberdare and these soldiers will be honoured as part of a moving artwork at the Anzac Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park.
Soil samples from more than 1600 sites across NSW where soldiers enlisted to serve in the Great War are being retrieved and delivered to Sydney for inclusion in the Anzac Memorial Centenary Soil Collection project.
The soil will be dug up by representatives of the Office of Veterans Affairs, the Geographical Names Board and Spatial Services surveyors or local MPs, and will be placed in the Hall of Service with the name of the town next to each sample.
Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott and Liberal MLC for the Hunter, Taylor Martin visited the Aberdare Memorial Gates on Tuesday afternoon to collect a contribution for the project.
The pair was in Cessnock for the opening of the Hunter Correctional Centre that morning.
Mr Elliott said collecting the soil from the broad range of sites across the state is a reminder of the great sacrifices made by men and women in the war.
“A century on, we honour these Australians by taking a sample of soil and placing it in the Hall of Service at the refurbished Anzac Memorial so that it can be appreciated and commemorated by generations to come,” he said.
Mr Martin said it was an honour to join the minister to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of the men and women from across the Cessnock area who served their country.
“The Hunter region a huge number of people to the war effort and this important contribution will be recognised in the collection of soil from Aberdare,” he said.
“It is great to have Minister Elliott here in the Hunter to acknowledge the area’s important contribution to Australia’s proud Anzac legacy.”
It was the second time Mr Elliott had collected soil from the Cessnock area for the project.
In June last year he visited the Cessnock War Memorial, where the names of his grandfather’s brother (Archibald Arbuckle) and his grandfather’s uncle (Archibald George Arbuckle) are listed on the memorial wall for their service in World War I.
The soil collection project is part of the NSW Government’s upgrade of the Hyde Park memorial during the Centenary of Anzac. The upgrade is expected to be complete by the end of this year.
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