Australian flags will be “planted” at the gravesides of veterans at both Castle Hill Cemetery at Gilbert Rd and Castlebrook Memorial Park at Rouse Hill on Australia Day.
The moving tribute has been organised by Castle Hill RSL sub-branch for several years with volunteers “planting” more than a thousand graveside flags each Australia Day.
Castle Hill Sub-branch vice-president (commemoration) Jim Wilson said it was an important occasion to pay respect to veterans and their service. “It demonstrates to families how important their service was.” Flags are placed next to name plaques showing service emblems.
The flag planting at Castle Hill Cemetery will take place at 6am on Sunday, January 26 and at 7am at Castlebrook. There will be a short commemorative service at Castlebrook which people are welcome to join.
Australia Day will also see several flag raising ceremonies across the area including Castle Hill Heritage Park at 8am, John Benyon Park at Kenthurst at 9.30am and Annangrove Park at 10am. Hills Shire Mayor Michelle Byrne said: “This Australia Day will be even more special as we honour the sacrifices that our Rural Fire Services, emergency service personnel and volunteers are making to ensure people’s homes and livelihoods remain safe from the devastating fires ravaging our country, as well as the wonderful efforts being made to rescue and care for our injured wildlife during this time.
“I encourage everyone to celebrate our nation’s day at one of their nearest flag raising ceremonies and pay tribute to those who have contributed to making Australia the best country in the world,” she said.
As well as flag raising at Annangrove there will be a community fair organised by Annangrove Progress Association from 10am to 2pm at Annangrove Park with rides, food stalls and entertainment.
The Australia Day fun at Bella Vista Farm will run from 4pm to 9pm and includes live music, roving performances, rides, Australiana displays and activities for children.
For more information on flag raising ceremonies or Council’s Australia Day celebrations, visit The Hills Shire Council website,www.thehills.nsw.gov.au.