The Garden of Remembrance commemorates the Australian men and women from the Willoughby district who died during the Boer War, World War I, World War II, and in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam. You can refer to the pdf format Garden of Remembrance Directory (1.07 MB) to find where a specific person is commemorated.
The garden also provides a place to reflect at any time of year on the sacrifices made by service men and women.
The suggestion to create a Garden of Remembrance on the site was first made in 1936, and two buildings and some fruit trees were removed in the late 1930s. Lawns were laid and a grass mound – shaped like the tin hats worn by World War I soldiers – was constructed at the southern end of the garden in 1949. The gardens were laid out in 1950, and the first Anzac Day service was held in 1955. The Cross of Remembrance was erected on the grass mound and the gardens were dedicated on Anzac Day 1964.
Two underground air raid shelters were built in the gardens during the Second World War, and demolished after the war. In 1972 the Mayor of Dunkirk laid a wreath and planted some roses in the presence of 40 veterans of the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation. In 1988 rose diseases and new buildings being constructed next door resulted in some redesigning of the garden, as has the recent development of Chatswood Railway Station.
In addition to the “tin hat” mound and Cross of Remembrance, features of the garden include:
The Boer War memorial (a marble fountain moved from Chatswood Oval)
The pathway message They Gave Their Today For Your Tomorrow
The Australia Remembers Memorial Picardy Roses which were grown from budwood obtained from Villiers-Brettonneux and Delville-Wood War Cemeteries in the Somme area of France. This connection provides a link to an area in which over 30,000 Australian soldiers were killed in action during the First World War
Standard roses with plaques under each inscribed with the names of local Willoughby service personnel who lost their lives as a result of wars.
Rosemary plants (botanical name Rosmarinus officinalis “Gallipoli”) around the “Australia Remembers” Memorial grown from a cutting brought back from Gallipoli by an injured serviceman in 1915.
The official criteria for placement of a plaque in the Garden are as follows:
“The family of a Veteran who was Killed in Action (KIA) or was officially listed as Missing in Action (MIA) may request of Willoughby City Council, to have a remembrance plaque installed in a rose bed in the Garden
The family of a Veteran who succumbed to War wounds or injuries, within a period of five (5) years after the cessation of hostilities, may request of Willoughby City Council, to have a remembrance plaque installed in a rose bed in the Garden”
The original roses were red signifying the physical sacrifice and white signifying the spiritual sacrifice made during the wars.
The Trustees of the Garden of Remembrance are representatives of Chatswood RSL Sub-branch, Willoughby Legion Club and Willoughby City Council.
The Garden is 150m from the Chatswood Bus/Rail Interchange, and there are 2 metered carspaces in Albert Avenue next to the Garden. There is one carspace reserved for people with disabilities in Chatswood Park across Albert Avenue. Chatswood shopping centre carparks are located a block away from the Garden.
Every year a Dawn Service is held in the garden on Anzac Day (25 April). The Dawn March begins at the corner of Albert Avenue and Anderson Streets at 5am and finishes at the Cross of Remembrance, where a service is held at 5.25am. Approximately 300 people attend the service and march. A minute of silence is observed by community groups and individuals at 11am on Remembrance Day (11 November) in the garden to honour the memory of lives lost during wars.