Hand-crafted poppies heartfelt Aust-NZ tribute to 100th anniversary of ANZAC landings at Gallipoli

March 25, 2015
Hand-crafted poppies heartfelt Aust-NZ tribute to 100th anniversary of ANZAC landings at Gallipoli

More than 200,000 poppies come to Melbournes Federation Square for the Gallipoli centenary commemoration on Anzac Day 25th April 2015.

This project commemorates 100 years of service and sacrifice by our service men and women. The significance of the poppy is from its association with poppies flowering in the spring of 1915 in the battlefields of Belgium, France and Gallipoli. The poppy has become a symbol of both great loss in war and hope for those left behind

The 200,000 hand crafted Australian poppies are made by volunteers one of whom is our very own GSA and GSNZ touring staff member Pam Hislop.

The Victorian Poppies project creators are Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight, two Melbourne based fibre artists;

After Anzac Day, we are hoping to tour the project nationally from 2015 to 2018 with our ultimate aim being to gift the entire project to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra for all Australians to enjoy, Project Manager Lynn Berry said.

We have both knitted for many years and have been enjoying a more playful and creative outlet with our craft, Lynn said.

In 2013 they were looking to create a small planting of handmade poppies at the Shrine of Remembrance to Honour their fathers who fought in World War II, Margs in Europe and Lynns in New Guinea. The plan was to make and plant 120 poppies around the 14/32nd battalions tree in the Avenue of Honour at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.

Once they started making poppies friends thought it was a great idea and offered to make some then their friends and family and then ultimately strangers (literally strangers on a train).

In Australia and New Zealand extension of the Poppies Program Kiwi co-ordinator Lisa Wallace says: We will have 28,000 crafted poppies on display at Navy Museum, Devonport, Omaka Aviation Centre in Blenheim and Airforce Museum in Christchurch this Anzac Day.

Poppies workshop Melbourne.
Poppies workshop Melbourne.

ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day is the anniversary of the landing of troops from Australia and New Zealand on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey, in World War I on April 25, 1915. The bravery of all military personnel who participated in this campaign and the lives of those who died in all military actions are remembered.

New Zealanders have marked the landings at Gallipoli since news of the event first reached NZ, and Anzac Day has been a public holiday since 1921.

New Zealand is to host the worlds largest Poppy (a football field in size) this year to honour the ANZACS.

New Zealanders and artist and creator Tony McNeight of The Big Poppy Art Project will place 59,000 red metal discs with their messages and their names to create The Giant Poppy Art installation for the WW1 100 year Anniversary.

Everyone will be able to participate from all over the country and the world by going online. Also by personally visiting the Auckland Domain where the Poppy will be built over nine days before Anzac Day - April 16 to 24.

The 59,000 red metal discs symbolise the number of New Zealand men and women who were wounded or killed in WW1.

Pams Poppies
Pam's Poppies

The RSA was formed in New Zealand in 1916 by ANZACs returning from World War One to provide support and comfort for service men and women and their families.

Today the RSA has 105,000 members throughout New Zealand.

The Melbourne Age newspaper reports that along with other states and territories Victorians will not get an extra public holiday this year to mark Anzac Day despite it falling on a Saturday. But Western Australiansare the exception and get a public holiday on Monday 27th April.

It is estimated that up to 40,000 people from both sides of the Tasman were interested in attending the Anzac Day services in Gallipoli on 25 April 2015.

The Turkish Government has formally agreed that the maximum capacity of the site is 10,500 people.

Of the 10,500 attendance passes, Australia will receive 8,000, New Zealand 2,000, and the remaining 500 will be reserved for those from Turkey, official representation from other countries involved in the conflict, and a small number of VIPs from Australia and New Zealand.

The 1:4 allocation ratios is based on the relative number of casualties suffered by New Zealand and Australia during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915.

Lest we forget.
Lest we forget.