Two surveyors who met at university some forty years ago have answered the call of the Surveyor General, taking on a task to collect soil for the new Hall of Service at the Anzac Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park.
Tamworth resident Daryl Bath combined forces with Sydney sider Robert Tims, who also has connections to the region, in collecting soil samples from Currabubula, Piallaway, Quipolly, Willow Tree, and Werris Creek on Thursday.
The soil is being collected all over the state from any town or location that any WWI enlistees gave as their home address.
The soil collections will be displayed in a huge showcase wall at the memorial, next to a plaque with the name of the town or suburb, and the exact geographic locations that the soil was collected.
After hearing about the project going ahead, Mr Bath and Mr Tims applied to be collection officers, and while the major towns in the region had already been taken they were more than happy to hit the Liverpool Plains with a shovel and crowbar.
“It was sent out to the community asking for surveyors’ assistance to collect the soil because it has to be from exact geographic locations,” Mr Bath said.
“It is a great cause and a great project. It is important to remember and honour our Anzac forebears.”
While some technical know how was needed, so too was a bit of elbow grease.
The soil, which was collected from War Memorials and Memorial Halls, had to be collected from an appropriate depth to insure it was the same soil that would have been present 100 years ago.
And while the pair of old friends were trying to pierce a hole in the hard soil of the Currabubula Memorial Hall, they found that they had even more in common than they knew.
While Mr Bath’s great uncle, Walter Bath, fell in Flanders, Mr Tim’s great uncle, Lester Clarke, fell in France during the conflict.
“It is really important part of our history,” Mr Tims said.
“I have seen a resurgence in interest and recognition from the community recently, and that is also what makes this project so interesting.”
“It is a great initiative to involve the community, and involve schools and organisations to collect the samples – to be a living part of the recognition.”
The Hall of Service memorial is the concept of artist Fiona Hall, and will showcase close to 1700 plaques and soil samples from all over NSW.
“The wall is a fantastic idea,” Mr Bath said.
“It is interesting and something different to the usual style of war memorials that you see all over the world, plus it has also just been a great day out with an old friend for a great cause.”