SUTHERLAND Shire’s new memorial to Australian service personnel and their families, the Woronora Military Memorial, was officially opened by NSW Governor David Hurley last Thursday on the centenary of the Battle of Lone Pine.
Several hundred people gathered just before sunset for the memorial’s opening ceremony, which concluded with the blowing of a whistle at 5.30pm to mark the exact time the Diggers jumped from their trenches and the Battle of Lone Pine commenced.
The fight resulted in 2277 Australian casualties and 6400 Turkish casualties.
One hundred years later and half a world away, a gift of two saplings, a ‘‘lone pine’’ which has a direct heritage to pine cones gathered by Diggers on the battlefield in Turkey, and a Wollemi pine representing Australia, were presented by state Environment Minister and Cronulla MP Mark Speakman to the Turkish vice-consul Cafer Akik as a symbol of friendship between both countries.
Nearby, the Australian, New Zealand and Turkish flags were at half-mast.
Standing inside the main gate of the park, the new memorial has a statue of a World War I Digger with two children; his son is holding up a note saying ‘‘Miss you Dad’’, and his daughter holds a poppy.