ACT News

Floriade 2015 will commemorate the Anzac centenary in flowers

Floriade will join commemorations of the Anzac centenary with flower displays depicting Australian war images and an official theme of "reflection". 

Chief Minister Andrew Barr joined Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson on Tuesday to announce garden bed designs for the annual festival including the poppy, the Southern Cross, two-up and army slouch hats.

Floriade opens to the public on September 12 at Canberra's Commonwealth Park and will run until October 11. 

Saturday marks 100 years since the first Anzac landings at Gallipoli. As many as 50,000 people are expected to visit the Australian War Memorial for commemoration services.

Planting has begun at Commonwealth Park for Floriade's 28th year. The garden designs will also show the Red Cross, Australian war medals, the eternal flame, the wattle sprig and a stylised aircraft landing field. 

Mr Barr said the festival remained one of Canberra's most successful major events.

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Last year, it recording its highest attendance, with 481,854 visitors, bringing a $47 million boost to the ACT economy.

Mr Barr said "2015 is a very significant year for this nation and it's appropriate that Canberra's most significant tourism event is going to honour the Anzac tradition through a theme of reflection". 

"You will see this theme through the garden beds but also through the programs and activities that will occur during the four separately themed weeks of Floriade.

"This series of events [is one] which many historians credit with the true formation of the Australian story and the Australian nation, so we felt it was entirely appropriate this year to have a Floriade theme as one of reflection.. 

"We are delighted for the very strong support and partnership of the Australian War Memorial."

Dr Nelson welcomed the Anzac theme and called on all Australians to visit Canberra and the Australian War Memorial.

"Every nation has its story and this is our story. Floriade this year . . . is telling and reflecting the story of Australia, the service and sacrifice of Australian men and women over 100 years, who have given us a greater confidence in ourselves and our place in the world.

"We are very proud and very pleased to be supporting Floriade this year and especially pleased to see images that will be depicted with the floral presentation, architecture and design around the Australian Army rising sun [badge], the Australian War Memorial and the importance of the Last Post."

The festival will undergo a shake-up in 2016 as its five-year contract for the use of Commonwealth Park ends.

The ACT government is considering splitting the event over various city sites.

Floriade visitors will enjoy the annual offerings of gardening tips, cooking demonstrations, musical performances and children's entertainment. 

The 30 days of activity will be programmed into four themed weeks, featuring subjects including stories, pride, connections and harmony.

The popular NightFest event will run from September 23 to 27 and will include comedy, music, night markets, lighting and activities.

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