A riverside garden in memory of military personnel killed in the First World War, focusing on Hamilton city's connection with the Belgian town of Ieper (Ypres).
Hamilton City Council is establishing a memorial garden dedicated to the memory of military personnel who have died in overseas conflicts. The proposed memorial will be located at Memorial Park which was originally a military reserve as shown on the 1864 survey plan of the site – situated close to a redoubt built by the 4th Waikato militia.
The key design concept includes the idea of two places, or two parts, which reflects the strong relationship Hamilton has with the Belgium town of Ieper – where hundreds of New Zealand soldiers departed from to advance to the Western Front during the First World War, with devastating consequences during the Passchendaele conflict.
The proposed design contrasts a place of protection (redoubt / Pa sites / Ieper) with the exterior being a battlefield. Seating within the low profiled, partly-walled garden is on an axis with the existing First World War cenotaph while the central area has a low profile water feature under a boardwalk to reflect the duck boards used in the battlefields.
Hamilton City Council has a particularly special reason for establishing this memorial – as well as honouring the soldiers who would never come home, we also want to honour the people of the Belgian city of Ypres for their care and devotion of all the fallen Commonwealth soldiers who died near Ypres on the battlefields of Flanders and Passchendaele.
This devotion is demonstrated every night at the Menin Gate Memorial where buglers play the Last Post. Since 2006 Hamilton and Ypres have forged a strong friendship, initiated by one of our councillors, Peter Bos. The friendship is based on our shared legacy of the First World War.
This year our friendship was cemented by the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Hamilton and Ypres that supports affiliations between businesses, schools and organisations and promotes cultural and educational exchanges. We believe it is now time for Hamilton to establish a permanent acknowledgement that symbolises our ties with Ypres.