AS thousands of young men left WA for World War I, Fremantle Port was the last glimpse of home many would have.
In recognition of the important role the area played, Veterans Minister Joe Francis, Returned and Services League WA president Peter Aspinall and members of the Australian Defence Force were in Fremantle on Wednesday, collecting soil that will be incorporated in the Flanders Fields Memorial Garden, opening at the Australian War Memorial this year.
Mr Aspinall said while most of the soil would come from the Flanders Fields battleground in Belgium, soil from Fremantle, Albany and Blackboy Hill would also be part of the garden.
“The three sites selected were of significance not only to WA but Australia’s efforts in WWI,” he said.
“Albany was the last Australian port for many Anzacs who went to war and it was used as a major re-supply port throughout the war.
“Blackboy Hill was the birthplace of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in WA and more than 32,000 men passed through the camp before heading off to war and these Anzacs sailed from Fremantle.
“This is a significant memorial in that it brings together the soil of two countries in which poppies will grow and generations will be able to enjoy their beauty and reflect on the sacrifice of those who served our country.”