Australian 'Sacred Soil' project seeks to engage young people

Posted on on 11 July 2014
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The Sacred Soil project in Australia is proposing to send students to the battlefields of the Western Front and to Gallipoli to mark the Centenary of the First World War.

The project would see young people visit the battlefields which Australian soldiers fought on and the cemeteries in which they are buried. There they would collect soil, which would be returned to Australia and placed in a memorial garden.

It follows a similar initiative in Britain, which saw students collect sacks of 'Sacred Soil' and return them to the UK, in order to be placed in a memorial garden at the Guards Museum in London.

The British Sacred Soil project saw a ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, where bags of soil collected by students from the battlefields in Belgium were transported to London

The Australian Sacred Soil project proposes that students who have won competitions to visit the Western Front and Gallipoli would collect the soil. Education has been identified as "a key objective for the Centenary" by the organisers and this would be reflected in the activities the students took part in whilst on the battlefields.

The initiative has already received the support of the Australian Department of Agriculture, which will treat the soil with radiation before it is used as a basis for the memorial garden.

The next stage for the project is to secure financial backing for the design and construction of the garden or gardens.

Inspired by the amount of media and public support the British Sacred Soil project attracted, the organisers of Australia's version are confident their plans will come to fruition.

The proposed sites for Sacred Soil collection are: Gallipoli; Fromelles; Pozieres; Pozieres; Mouquet Farm; Bullecourt; Messines; Third Battle of Ypres; Battle of Menin Road; Battle of Polygon Wood; Battle of Broodseinde Ridge; Battle of Passchendaele; Villers Bretonneux; Hamel; Mont St Quentin.

Source: Australian Sacred Soil project

Image of Sacred Soil project logo courtesy of the organisation; image of UK sacred soil handover courtesy of Tijl Capoen/Stad Ieper

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News