The bowl-shaped glass figures of the Australian garden in Zonnebeke symbolise the cratered battlefields of 1917 and fragility of life (Photo © Eric Compernolle/Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917)

Australian Memorial Garden opens in Passchendaele

Posted on on 02 May 2017
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The latest commemorative garden to open at the Passchendaele Memorial Park in Zonnebeke honours Australian troops of the First World War.

An artwork of bowl-shaped glass figures, each resembling a helmet, is the eye-catching feature of a design bringing a mix of Australian trees and shrubs to Europe in remembrance. 

The bowls symbolise the fragility of life, and evoke the water-filled craters that covered the devastated Flanders landscape during the Third Battle of Ypres - Passchendaele in 1917.

The nations who fought here from July-November a century ago have been invited to contribute their own distinctive designs for the poppy-shaped series of gardens at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele (MMP1917).

Veterans' Affairs Minister Dan Tehan inaugurated the Australian Memorial Garden at an eve of Anzac Day ceremony on 24 April 2017.

He said the project would enhance understanding and appreciation of Australia’s service and sacrifice in the First World War.

"Almost 300,000 Australians served on the Western Front, where 45,000 lost their lives and more than one-third of those have no known grave. 

"Those young Australians who never returned home are still a part of us, and now our native plants will be a part of Europe to honour their service and sacrifice."

The Zonnebeke memorial garden will feature in the Australian Remembrance Trail, a Centenary project highlighting Australia's most significant WW1 battle sites in France and Belgium (Photo © Eric Compernolle)

In October 1917 alone, Australian forces suffered more than 6,600 casualties in the fighting around Passchendaele, part of a British-led attempt to break out of the Ypres Salient and take control of the Belgian coast.

A photograph of Australian soldiers crossing duckboards at Chateau Wood amid blackened tree stumps is one of the best-known images of the First World War.

Seven gardens are planned for the Passchendaele Memorial Park: "In 2015 and 2016, the German and American Memorial Gardens were opened," explains Sabine Vanderhaeghen, President, MMP1917.  

"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".

Also in Centenary News:

Menin Gate Lions return to Ypres for 2017 Centenary.

Zonnebeke Church Dugout reopens for Passchendaele Centenary - Advance booking now open. See Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 for details.

For more information about forthcoming Centenary events in Flanders, see Passchendaele 2017

Source: Memorial Museum Passchendaele 2017/Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs

Images © Eric Compernolle/MMP1917

Posted by: CN Editorial Team