Wreaths laid at feet of Australian Digger and New Zealand Soldier on Anzac Bridge

24 April 2015

Wreaths will be laid at the feet of the Australian and New Zealand soldier statues near the ANZAC Bridge this afternoon as part of early 100 year commemoration services.

Chief Executive Officer of the RSL NSW Chris Perrin said the State President of RSL NSW Mr Rod White AM RFD would be joined by the Vice President from the Returned and Services Association of New Zealand, Mr Bob Hill and a small group of veterans and war widows from Timor-Leste to pay respects ahead of official ANZAC Day activities on Saturday.

“Tomorrow we mark a sombre 100 years since World War I, a century since so many young lives were lost fighting for the freedoms society has today,” he said.

A Roads and Maritime Services spokesperson said it was fitting to lay wreaths at the statues ahead of dawn services, which are expected to attract large crowds around the state.

“The structure was named the ANZAC Bridge on Remembrance Day, 11 November 1998 – the 80 year anniversary of the end of World War I,” the spokesperson said.

“The renaming was bestowed in honour of members from both sides of the Tasman who formed the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – the ANZACs.

“The statue of the Australian Digger was unveiled on ANZAC Day, 25 April 2000 by then RSL President Rusty Priest, in the presence of World War I veteran Charlie Mance and Consul General of New Zealand Priscilla Williams.”

The 4.2 metre bronze memorial shows a Digger bowed in silent reflection. The statue is at the western end of the bridge, on the northern side. The New Zealand Soldier statue faces it across the bridge, on the southern side.

“Many people are not aware a handful of sand from Gallipoli rests under the foot of each of the Diggers as a permanent connection with comrades who fell and remain at the Gallipoli Battlefield in Turkey.”

People wanting to lay wreaths at the feet of the statues are encouraged to do so safely.

Anzac Bridge facts:

  • It is the longest cable-stayed bridge in Australia, with a main deck length of 805 metres
  • Around 141,000 vehicles use the bridge each week day
  • Has a 345 metre span between the towers
  • The two 120 metre towers support 128 cables
  • Is among the longest concrete cable-stayed bridges in the world
  • The bridge now carries eight lanes of traffic plus a shared cycle and pedestrian path
  • There is a shared pedestrian/cycle path on the northern side of the bridge
  • The main deck length is 805 metres
  • The span between towers is 345 metres
  • The two bridge towers are 128 metres high
  • The towers support 128 cables
  • The bridge opened to traffic in 1995
  • Upon opening the bridge was named Glebe Island Bridge. In 1998 it was renamed ANZAC Bridge to honour the memory of soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp (ANZAC) who served in the first world war.

CONTACT: Roads and Maritime Services Media Unit: 8588 5999

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