The emotive story behind the Garden City’s floral emblem, the sweet violet, will resonate just as strongly as recollections of sacrifice, bravery and mateship this Anzac Day for Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio.

Mayor Antonio said anyone attending a service at Toowoomba’s Mothers’ Memorial in the coming week, or at any time, might wish to reflect on the story behind its existence.

“Anzac Day is an important time to pause and pay respects to all servicemen and women, especially following the covid-enforced cancellations of 2020,” Mayor Antonio, pictured, said.

“I’m particularly drawn to the tale of one of our richest traditions.

“The magnificent Mothers’ Memorial was built on the mothers’ love for their sons and relatives who did not return from World War One.

“These bereft women and family members gathered small bundles of sweet violets to sell for threepence to raise funds to build the memorial. Around £1800 was raised and the memorial was unveiled by the Queensland Governor in January 1922. (firstly at the intersection of Margaret and Ruthven Streets, before it was relocated to East Creek Park)

“The memorial serves as a timeless and poignant reminder of the far-reaching effects of war, even on the people left at home on the other side of the world.”

The Mothers’ Memorial, like thousands of similar memorials across the region and country, will be the centre of community Anzac Day commemorations on Sunday, April 25.

Mayor Antonio is encouraging residents to join any of the services across the region to honour the lives of the fallen and the selfless service of all past and present military and civilian personnel. Alternatively, residents can mark the occasion by joining the RSL’s Light up the Dawn commemorative tribute from their front drive or gate.

Commemorative services in Toowoomba this weekend are a solemn prelude to Anzac Day services.

Mayor Antonio will lay a wreath on behalf of the citizens of Toowoomba at a commemoration service at the Toowoomba Garden of Remembrance and Crematorium Wall of Memory on Sunday, April 18. The service starts at 8am.

In the afternoon, Mayor Antonio will lay a wreath at the Solemn Service of Remembrance at the Cross of Sacrifice, Memorial Wall, Toowoomba War Cemetery at the Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery. This service starts at 3pm.

Mayor Antonio said while services honoured the ill-fated Gallipoli landing and subsequent campaign in Turkey in World War I, the date had become a broader national memorial day.

“These services are important occasions for us to formally remember and reflect on the sacrifice of past generations of servicemen and women from this area,” he said.

“Apart from honouring their selfless deeds, we must remember there is a new generation of men and women who recently have been involved in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Australian personnel, including people from this Region, also remain on duty in numerous peace-keeping and other operations around the world.

“Councillors will attend Anzac Day services around the Region along with Australian Defence Force representatives, RSL and veterans’ association members, community groups and the general public as a mark of respect for all civilian supporters and military personnel.

“This is in addition to many school and other community services. While the ranks of veterans might thin each year, attendances at Anzac Day services ensure current generations never forget the sacrifices of our forebears.”

For a list of regional Anzac Day services, please visit www.tr.qld.gov.au/anzac 

Eligible veterans in Toowoomba can book a free taxi service to transport them to the Toowoomba Dawn service and morning Anzac Day service (10am service). Bookings can be made by phoning Black and White Cabs on 4635 7250 by April 23.

In line with established COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, residents are required not to attend services if they are unwell.