Crowd gathers for labyrinth dedication

Pam Archer and Tumut Youth Council chairperson Jeane Vandermerwe at the opening of the Tumut Labyrinth in Pioneer Park on Saturday.

NEARLY 200 people gathered at Pioneer Park on Saturday for the dedication and presentation of the Tumut Community Labyrinth for Peace.

The ceremony began with a smoking ceremony at Bila Park.

From there, at the sound of the All Saints bell, the procession, led by the bearers of smoke and water and incense, continued to the labyrinth, accompanied by the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo and bagpipes.

Labyrinth interpretive consultant Darren Mitchell was master of ceremonies, and speakers included former Tumut Mayor and CEO of Brungle Tumut Lands council Sue Bulger; Rotary club of Tumut president Tim Oliver and past president Steven Walker; Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire and Tumut RSL Sub-Branch president Robert Watson.

A feature of the Dedication was the endangered Tumut Grevillea grown by Tumut Landcare Nursery volunteers.

In recognising the importance of community that is embedded in the labyrinth, a cross section of community elders and community leaders participated in the ceremony carrying the grevilleas to the centre in dilly bags made by Talea Bulger.

The Tumut Youth Council, along with Tumut High School teachers and students, lit and placed lanterns at the positions of the planets, which are  mapped across the labyrinth according to where they were in the southern sky at the signing of the armistice to end the First World War.

The planets are identified by different stones from the area.

During the Dedication Daryl Maguire, Wagga MP, presented coins to Tim Oliver.

In a statement, the Royal Australian Mint noted it has been playing an important part in marking the Anzac Centenary with tangible and meaningful keepsakes.

“The Mint has donated several 2017 $1 100 Years of Anzac – Spirit Lives Coins, which will be set into the Labyrinth landscape, in recognition of the contribution of men and women of Tumut during wartime,” the statement read.

“The 2017 $1 100 Years of Anzac – Spirit Lives Coin features the official Centenary of Anzac logo rimmed with a motif reflecting the sun’s rays as captured on the Australian Army’s Rising Sun badge.

“This design was first seen on the circulating $1 coin in 2014 and will continue to be released up until 2018 for the centenary period as a reminder of the service and sacrifice of our past and present Australian Defense Force member.”

Other participants in the Dedication included the Franklin Public School choir supported by their teachers, Robin Bridle who played the Last Post and John Campbell, son of the marvelous Adelong born poet David Campbell, whose words are included in the interpretive panels on the labyrinth.

Following the dedication a “digging in” of western front soil took place.

The soil, given for the occasion by Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial, was dug in by members of the Tumut RSL sub branch, representatives of Legacy, relatives of service men and women, and Luke Dowell, one of the two Light Horsemen who participated and stood guard on the Dedication.