Sydney [Australia], Nov 21 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind and First Lady Savita Kovind visited the Anzac Memorial at Hyde Park here on Wednesday afternoon and laid a wreath.
Marking his first maiden visit to the island nation, the Indian President was received by the Governor of New South Wales (NSW), Retired General David Hurley, AC, DSC, along with his wife Linda Hurley at the Memorial.
The leaders then together moved upstairs near the Pool of Reflection to enter the grand Memorial that has a marble dome ceiling, which was officially opened last month by the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry.
The Anzac Memorial completed in 1934, is the main commemorative military monument of Sydney. The white Art Deco monument is located at the southern extremity of Hyde Park in the city's business district.
The building was constructed as a memorial to the Australian Imperial Force in World War I, like the India Gate in New Delhi, to honour the service and sacrifice made by all servicemen, servicewomen and their families from colonial times to the present day.
Inside the Hall of Memory, senior curator and historian Brad Manera provided an overview of Australian and Indian military connections to the leaders of the two countries.
There are four Niches of Remembrance in the Hall of Memory where each wall is inscribed with the names of each major battles fought by the Australian soldiers during the World War 1.
President Kovind and his wife visited the Gallipoli Niche, which highlights the Sari Bair battle that Australian soldiers shared with the 29th Indian Brigade and the Krithia battle that was also shared between the Australian soldiers and several Indian infantry regiments.
President Kovind also visited the Sinai Palestine Niche, where once again most of the Australian light horse battle honours were shared with the Indian cavalry regiments.
The Anzac Memorial is beyond just a monument. It houses a significant collection of about 6,000 objects that tell personal stories and heroic tales of servicemen, servicewomen and their families. On display are medals, badges, uniforms, equipment, photographs, documents and manuscripts, framed works of art and books related to the military.
President Kovind along with the Governor of New South Wales laid a wreath, followed by a minute of silence. Both the leaders then stood at the Well of Contemplation to have a view of sculpture of 'Sacrifice' placed in the Well.
The leaders along with the official delegation then moved to the Hall of Service, named in acknowledgment of the Anzac Memorial's halls and recognized more than a century of service by Australian servicemen and servicewomen. At the threshold of this place is written: "NSW Service with and for All Australians."
The Fiona Hall's artwork pays tribute to the people from across NSW who served in the Great War and the ongoing service and sacrifice of NSW servicemen and servicewomen. The artwork also contributes as a significant new civic space to Sydney's cultural landscape.
There are eight walls in the Hall of Service that display soil samples from 1,701 New South Wales' towns, cities, and districts that were given a place of address by World War 1 enlistees, including one location called 'Lucknow.'
While no one knows exactly how the town got its unusual name 'Lucknow,' some explanations suggest that it was named after Lucknow in India because the bookkeeper at one of the mines was wounded at the Siege of Lucknow in 1857.
While others suggest it was named Lucknow as a contraction of 'luck now' which was what had happened to so many of the gold mining residents. The name Lucknow was first used in 1863. President Kovind is the First Head of State to visit the new wing of the Memorial that has Hall of Service.
Each day at 11am, a daily ceremony of remembrance is held at the memorial where visitors are invited to pause for a minute of silent reflection.
At the end, President Kovind signed a visitor's diary where he expressed his `enthralling experience' of the visit to the Anzac War Memorial.
Australian Rear Admiral Ian Crawford in his interview has mentioned Indian and Sri Lankan crew on HMS Ceylon during the Korean War. The 15-year-boy soldier Jack Harris and veteran captain Alfred Shout, VC, MC, were among the men from NSW who died in the Battle of Lone Pine while trying to provide a feint for the Indian attack on Hill Q at Gallipoli.
Australians are known to have fought alongside Indian troops in North Africa in 1941-42, in Korea in 1951-53 and on several peacekeeping operations. Besides, AANS nursed a large number of Indian survivors of Changi in NSW in 1946. (ANI)