why do we have rosemary on anzac day

Rosemary has long featured in Anzac Day ceremonies, pinned to the lapels and collars of servicemen and school children alike. While it's unclear when rosemary was first worn, Anzac Day, and the aromatic herb has since become synonymous with the day. The reason for wearing rosemary is two-fold: firstly,
is thought to improve the memory, with reports of Greek scholars wearing rosemary in their hair to help them while they studied. Secondly, rosemary has, where our troops fought in - rosemary can be found growing wild all over the peninsula.


So now you know, tell your mates and pin a sprig to your jackets. Community volunteers in Canberra have been busy making around 12,000 sprigs of rosemary to be handed out to veterans and the public at the Anzac Day march at the Australian War Memorial (AWM). The tradition began in 1977 when then Brownies leader Merrill Davis organised her girls to collect, trim and distribute the sprigs. Photo Merrell Davis started making rosemary sprigs with her Brownies group in 1977. She said the youngest guides are still the ones responsible for handing out the rosemary before the start of the march. "We ask them to tell the public and the vets that the rosemary is free, it's a community service," Ms Davis said. "But any donations that may be made will be given to the veterans' room at the Canberra hospital. " For several days in the lead-up to Anzac Day each year, volunteers в including wives of veterans and war widows в gather around a long table at the Guides Hall in Wanniassa, sorting through huge bags of rosemary picked from Canberra gardens.


Sprigs are cut to the required length, leaves at the bottom are stripped and the sprigs are then packed in layers of dampened newspaper in a stack of vegetable boxes.


The sprigs are designed to be tucked in behind the medals or badges worn by marchers and spectators. Eight-year-old junior guide Erin Burt is looking forward to handing out rosemary for the first time this year. Photo Nicholas Neshev helped his grandmother sprig rosemary in the lead up to his birthday on Anzac Day. "It sounds really fun and I want to do service for the community," she said.


Nicholas Neshev, who has his birthday on Anzac Day, was helping his older sister and grandmother. As he carefully cut sprigs with a pair of secateurs he said he was planning to spend his birthday "going to the march and having [a] birthday dinner with a cake". Rosemary is a herb that, since ancient times, is believed to have aided memory. It has become a symbol of fidelity and remembrance. According to the AWM it has particular significance for Australians as it is found growing wild on the Gallipoli peninsula.


Joan Sullivan, the wife of a Vietnam veteran, said she hopes those who receive the rosemary think about on the "futility of war". She said those who take part in the Anzac Day march have much to reflect upon. "I think they probably remember the comrades they shared the service life with," Mrs Sullivan explained. "And the people watching will remember that a lot of people fought particularly for Australia to live they way we do. " Photo Volunteers spend several days making the rosemary springs in the Guides hall.