Collecting Cowra’s soil to remember our Anzacs

Cowra is playing its own important role in commemorating the Centenary of Anzac, with a special soil collection ceremony held at the Cowra Memorial Avenue of Trees on Tuesday morning.

"As part of NSW's commemoration of the Centenary of Anzac, the NSW Government is currently undertaking a major extension of the Hyde Park Memorial in Sydney. Part of the extensions includes a public artwork by artist Fiona Hall featuring individual plaques for 1700 NSW towns, localities and suburbs where men and women enlisted for service in the First World War," Mayor of Cowra, Cr Bill West explained.

"Each of these plaques will display a sample of soil collected from the particular location named in the plaque and on Cowra's part, our impressive Memorial Avenue of Trees was chosen as a soil collection point for the project," Cr West continued.

The Cowra Memorial Avenue of Trees was proposed, promoted, and chosen by the Women's Club of Cowra in 1917, who conducted a public campaign to have the avenue of trees established during wartime.

The Memorial Avenue is dedicated to all local residents, both men and women, who served in WW1, not only those who died.

Mayor West welcomed members of the Davidson family as part of the special soil collection ceremony. "In 1917 their ancestor, Jock Davidson, was one of the many Cowra locals serving overseas as part of the Australian military forces," Cr West explained.

"Jock's tree was one of those planted in 1917 in the Boorowa Road section of the Memorial Avenue. While it is now impossible to identify any one tree to an individual serviceman or woman it is safe to say that his tree was planted near this location. The attendance of a number of his descendants here today is a strong reminder of the value that current generations place on their ancestor's service to the nation in a time of war," Cr West concluded.

Cowra Council will also commemorate the 100 years since the end of World War One with subsidised coach tours to the Australian War Memorial later this year. These trips have proved highly-popular locally with residents in past years and will take place in late May, September and October 2018. Information on these tours will be available in the coming weeks.