Merriwa Rosemary Heads to Sydney
BY MEREDITH BLAIR
Did you know that Merriwa has supplied rosemary to Sydney’s ANZAC Day services for the past 25 years?
The initiative was started by local herb farmer, John Penninger, who started taking donations of rosemary down to Sydney for Legacy to sell.
In 2001, John went to the Merriwa RSL Subbranch, speaking to the president and member Michael O’Neill, with the RSL agreeing to take on the initiative.
Since then, the program has gained the help of local community groups and organisations, striking the rosemary at the local museum, cutting and harvesting with the help of the Merriwa Rotary, as well as the local IGA offering their forklifts, pallets and truck for transportation.
This year, Merriwa RSL will send up to 60 removalist size boxes to be trimmed, dressed and prepared by Legacy, raising up to $100,000 of donations.
“I think as long as we have Anzac Day and people want to remember what Anzac Day represents, there will always be a place for rosemary,” RSL member Michael O’Neill told The Hunter River Times.
“From that perspective, rosemary will be in demand well into the future, typifying what happened especially in the first World War.
“Merriwa isn’t fastidious about Anzac rosemary any more than any other town. We’ve just done something that we thought would benefit Legacy, not because we’re obligated or think we’re better than. Any town could have done it, but Merriwa just went ahead and did it.”