70th anniversary of ANZAC Field of Remembrance

A message from Australian War Widows NSW Ltd

‘We must demonstrate publicly that we have not forgotten them – because if we, the chief mourners, forget – who else will remember?’ War Widows NSW Annual Report 1986

Since 1952, War Widows in NSW have gathered at St Andrew’s Cathedral to commemorate their very personal sacrifices. The ANZAC Field of Remembrance is not just an event, it is a significant legacy established in Sydney 70 years ago – a commemorative Service that honours and pays tribute to those who have given their lives in Service of Australia by the chief mourners of that sacrifice.

On 20 April 2022, NSW War Widows gathered for the 70th time, paying tribute to their loved ones who have died during or as a result of their service. Crosses were planted, wreaths were laid, and roses were placed for those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice. Over its 70-year history, the ANZAC Field of Remembrance was cancelled only once and that was in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Last year saw the first live stream of the Service take place and the delivery of crosses to widows around the state, enabling them and their families to participate at home.

This year, the service was once again live streamed, enabling those widows from around the state to be part of the event. Around 3,000 crosses were hand made by the Haberfield Men’s Shed and sent to war widows around NSW so that they could participate at home, in small groups and with their families.

A regional live stream site was also set up in Coffs Harbour. This live stream hub brought together the ladies from three Northern NSW social clubs to watch and participate in the service together. The live stream hub proved to be successful, and we look forward to expanding the live stream hubs to other regional areas across NSW next year. 

Australian War Widows NSW is proud to carry forward such a meaningful legacy and will ensure the history of War Widows isn’t lost. You can watch the live stream on YouTube. If you would like to be part of next year’s event, please let us know at guild [at] warwidowsnsw.com.au.

The Field of Remembrance is not meant to supplant any of the traditional observances associated with Anzac Day. It is hoped that the intimate and personal act of planting a cross will make a great appeal.” Dean of Sydney Dr Babbage at St Andrew’s Cathedral, 20 April 1952

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Montage of ten images from past and present showing widows at memorial service