Rosemary as a symbol of commemoration in Australia

 

Rosemary is an ancient symbol of fidelity and remembrance. The aromatic herb grows wild on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, where the original Anzacs served in World War I. Australians traditionally wear sprigs of rosemary as a symbol of remembrance on Anzac Day or Remembrance Day.

History of its symbolism

Since ancient times, the aromatic herb rosemary has been believed to improve your memory. It's an ancient symbol of fidelity and remembrance. So it's a fitting commemorative symbol to help us remember those who served and those who died.

Rosemary grows wild on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, where many Australians served in World War I. In the 1980s, cuttings of plants from Gallipoli were planted in nurseries throughout Australia to support Avenues of Honour.

Leaves and stems from a rosemary bush

What it means to us today

Wearing rosemary has become a traditional symbol of remembrance and commemoration in Australia.

On special days of commemoration, such as Anzac Day and Remembrance Day, Australians often wear a small sprig of rosemary. Usually, it's pinned onto a coat lapel, near to the heart, or held in place by medals.

Engage more with this topic

Short animation and picture book

Watch our 1-minute video, which supports learning in the Here They Come big book for primary school students.

This video is part of a series of videos developed for the Here they come—A day to remember publication. It focus on Rosemary

Rosemary sprigs for remembrance

You could pick some rosemary and wear it on Anzac Day or Remembrance Day.

Perhaps you have a rosemary bush in your garden? You might find rosemary growing near a war memorial in your local community.

Make a rosemary wreath using rosemary branches and gum nuts. It will look and smell amazing.

To make your wreath look truly commemorative, add a splash of colour with some home-made red poppies.


Last updated: 6 November 2020

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2020), Rosemary as a symbol of commemoration in Australia, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 4 December 2020, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/commemoration/symbols-commemoration/rosemary
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