Today the Flanders red poppy is a recognisable symbol of remembrance, but prior to the First World War purple violets were the common symbol of remembrance in Australia. Each of the 350 concrete violets embedded in the grass in the Ex-Servicewomen’s Memorial Garden represents 200 ex-service women.
The Memorial Garden was opened on 20 November 2010 after many years of campaigning for recognition and respect by ex-servicewomen. It honours the sacrifice of the 70,000 women who served this country from the Boer War through to 1985 when the women’s and men’s services were finally amalgamated.
The design of the Memorial Garden is very symbolic. The green foliage and purple flowers of the Jacaranda represent the Boer War where Australian women served as nurses. Green and purple are also the colours of the international women’s movement. Each November the Jacaranda trees bloom with violet coloured flowers. The falling petals symbolise the confetti thrown during welcome home parades.
Reviewed 28 October 2021