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Gallipoli soil interred at New Zealand Memorial.



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DVA29 Monday 26 March, 2001

Gallipoli soil Interred at New Zealand Memorial

Soil from the battlefields of Gallipoli where Australian and New Zealand soldiers created the Anzac legend today was buried in the foundations of the New Zealand Memorial in Canberra, as a symbol of the lasting friendship between the two countries.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Bruce Scott, interred a box containing soil from Lone Pine, while the High Commissioner for New Zealand, Simon Murdoch, interred soil from the battlefield of Chunuk Bair, where New Zealand soldiers suffered great losses.

Mr Scott said, "The Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli honours not only those Australians who died during the Battle of Lone Pine, but all of the 8700 Australians who gave their lives at Gallipoli.

"The memorial also commemorates the 4228 Australians and 708 New Zealanders who have no known grave.  That list symbolises one of the great tragedies of World War I - that so many young men should have died, to be buried and lost where they fell.

"It is our duty to remember them and today we commit to the earth a piece of Gallipoli - a piece of the land upon which Australia and New Zealand’s sons shed their blood and gave their lives in defence of the ideals that we most treasure.

"At Gallipoli, our countries laid the foundations for a tradition which around the world has come to symbolise the closest of ties in times of war.  Today, we renew those ties and lay the foundations for a memorial that will stand in lasting tribute to our friendship," Mr Scott said.

The New Zealand Memorial is a gift to Australia from the people of New Zealand to mark the Centenary of Federation.

The boxes of Gallipoli soil have been buried on either side of Anzac Parade where the arches of the memorial, symbolising the handles of a Maori basket, will rise.

The New Zealand Memorial will be dedicated by the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand in a ceremony on 24 April, the eve of Anzac Day 2001.

Media contact:    Mark Croxford   02 6277 7820  or   0408 645 787

 

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