Why is Rosemary an Anzac Day Tradition?

Anzac Day is one of Australia’s most important national commemorative occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

On 25th April across Australia we stop to remember those who gave their lives serving and protecting our country. Some will attend morning services. Some will march and some will just sit quietly. Many will shed a tear and we will all remember them.

As a symbol of respect, gratitude and in remembrance, a sprig of rosemary is worn on ANZAC Day, but why?

History of Rosemary & the Anzacs

Why is rosemary an Anzac Day tradition? Rosemary directly links Australians to Gallipoli where rosemary grew wild across the peninsula. In 1915 a wounded digger returned to South Australia with a small rosemary bush he had dug up from ANZAC Cove. It was planted in the grounds at Keswick Army Hospital. Over the years, cuttings were taken and more shrubs were planted.  For decades small sprigs from this original plant were worn to honour the fallen on both ANZAC and Armistice Day.

In the 1980’s, Landscaper and Director of Avenues of Honour, David Lawry took and grew cuttings to ensure conservation of this historic plant. He later provided cuttings to the nursery industry.

 In the garden rosemary is a tough, low water-using, low maintenance shrub with loads of pretty flowers. Perfect for hedges, pots and for attracting bees to the veggie patch. Moreover, its pretty good on a lamb roast!