Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Anzac Memorial Centenary Project - Soil Collection Event

Kenley Park, Normanhurst

State Member for Ku-ring-gai, Alister Henskens SC MP hosted a Soil Collection event at the Hornsby Shire Historical Society Museum at Normanhurst, as part of the Anzac Memorial Centenary Project.

Joined by:

  • Terry James (President of the Hornsby RSL Sub-Branch);
  • David Cooper and Owen Thomas (Senior Vice-President and Secretary of the National Servicemen’s Association);
  • Hornsby Shire Councillor Nathan Tilbury (on behalf of the Mayor, the Honourable Philip Ruddock) and Councillors Mick Marr, Janelle McIntosh, Joe Nicita and Warren Waddell;
  • Ann and Graham Brown (the parents of the late Trooper Jason Brown, who tragically fell in active service in Afghanistan in 2010); and
  • Representatives from Barker College, Hornsby Girls’ High School, Knox Grammar School and Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School,

Mr Henskens with those attending collected the soil to recognise First World War enlistees from Normanhurst, who are to be honoured as part of a stunning artwork at the refurbished Anzac Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park.

“This project involves the collection of soil from 1,699 locations across the State, from where Australians enlisted for World War I, “ said Mr Henskens.

“It is about bringing our State together to remind ourselves that people from all areas of NSW answered the call to defend our country and continue to do so.”

The State Government has commissioned the Centenary Project, which, amongst other things, involves the creation of a new Hall of Service in the Hyde Park cenotaph that will feature a wall plaque for each of the towns, suburbs and localities around NSW that First World War enlistees gave as their place of address. Soil samples such as the one from Normanhurst will be displayed alongside the place name in the Hall of Service as part of a permanent artwork by artist Fiona Hall. 

The Museum was the chosen Normanhurst venue for the soil collection because an Honour Roll of “South Hornsby Methodist Boys” is located within it.  Mr Henskens took the opportunity to share the stories of some of the men whose names appear on the Roll, including Stanley Hughes of Hinemoa Avenue, Normanhurst and the three Lipscomb brothers, Frederick, Eric and Neville, students of Warrawee Public School, whose parents operated a butchery in the Wahroonga shopping village. Only Frederick, who was awarded the Military Cross for his conspicuous gallantry on the Somme, survived the conflict.

“The stories of these men and their extraordinary heroism 100 years ago deserve to be remembered,” said Mr Henskens.  “The display of the soil from Normanhurst will inform future generations of the enormity of the sacrifices made by the citizens of New South Wales on behalf of our country and form a lasting record of the geographic reach of the call to serve.”