MEDOWIE Artisans contributed to a very special handcrafted wreath this month, which was laid at a ceremony at Menin Gate, Ypres.
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A group of Bachelor of Education students from the University of Newcastle attended the wreath laying ceremony, where four students laid the wreath that was full of hand crafted poppies, gum leaves and wattle from families around Australia, including New South Wales, Victoria, and the ACT.
The group tour and wreath laying ceremony coincides with the centenary years of the First World War along with the centenary of the third battle of Ypres, more commonly referred to as Passchendaele.
A group of 32 primary and secondary pre-service teachers travelled through Belgium and France following the Western Front Remembrance trail focusing on the involvement of Australians during the First World War.
The study tour was for two weeks and students visited significant sites such as Villers-Bretonneux, Fromelles and Passchendaele.
The wreath itself was wrapped with red and purple poppies, gum leaves and wattle that were all handmade with cotton and wool.
A call was put out asking for donations, and families from around Australia responded.
Notably, Thornton Public School donated some lovely red poppies and the Garnet/Crossing family donated some wattle in remembrance of their fallen family member.
The wreath was laid by Annie McDonald, Jordan Kolarik, Mikahlia Holmes and Vivienne Hockridge from the University of Newcastle.
Study Tour Leader, Dr Heather Sharp said of the wreath laying: “Laying a wreath at the Menin Gates is a special honour that is only allowed through an application process.”
“University of Newcastle students were proud to be selected to lay a wreath in remembrance of Australia’s involvement in WWI, including local soldiers.”
“Local soldier Herb Hamilton, who has recently had his previously unclaimed medals awarded to the Raymond Terrace Historical Society, was also a focus on the Study Tour with a further wreath being laid at the Australian Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, which is also the site of his name plaque.”
“He is one of thousands of soldiers killed-in-action whose body was never recovered.”
It is a special honour for the crafts of Medowie residents to be included in such a special occasion.
By Rachael VAUGHAN