Community gathers to open Poppy Installation for Centenary of WWI Armistice

A spectacular installation of more than 8,000 poppies has been proudly launched in the Hawkesbury to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice that ended the First World War (1914-18).

Amid crowds of Hawkesbury residents, dignitaries, Councillors and community representatives, the Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Barry Calvert proudly opened the installation that will be on long term display in the atrium of the Deerubbin Centre in Windsor.

“The colourful installation looks magnificent,” Councillor Calvert said.

1.Audrey Coles, a key contributor to the poppy installation, The Mayor of Hawkesbury, Councillor Barry Calvert, and Leon Walker, Honorary Secretary Windsor RSL Sub Branch“It’s wonderful that so many people came along here today to commemorate those who have served in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, and to celebrate the community spirit involved in the making of this tribute.

“I would like to acknowledge the dedication of the many Hawkesbury crafters who have attended our monthly workshops since April to work on this beautiful installation.

“Congratulations to Hawkesbury Regional Museum, Hawkesbury Library Service and Hawkesbury Regional Gallery for the initiating and coordinating this special project,” he said.

“You reached over and above your target number of poppies ahead of schedule

“While the initial call out was for locals to make 2,000 poppies, the installation grew to over 8,000 poppies by October in an extraordinary effort from children to the older generations living in the Hawkesbury,” the Mayor said.

“It’s a practical, but very meaningful thing to do, and for many people it’s also a way of honouring the women who not only knitted socks, but contributed to the war effort in so many ways.

“You all deserve to be very proud of your combined efforts to commemorate the centenary of the World War One Armistice in such an outstanding way,” the Mayor added.

“It certainly shows what we can achieve when we work together.”

The knitted, felted and crocheted poppies are a symbol of remembrance and respect for those who have served in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, their families and their communities.

The colours of the poppies have special significance. The red poppies symbolise the Flanders Poppies, the white poppies symbolise peace, the purple poppies acknowledge the animals that died during the war, while the yellow poppies represent the Invictus Games.

The Poppy Project, which began as a small personal tribute by two Australian women, has become an international phenomenon, showing respect for, and remembrance of those who have served in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, their families and their communities.

Why poppies?

The seeds of the Flanders poppy (Papaver rhoeas) had lain dormant on the front lines of France until 1915 when they were disturbed by the soldiers fighting in World War I. Coincidentally, the weather offered perfect conditions for them to germinate. For the next four years, the poppies grew and their flowers lay like a red blanket across the fields on which the soldiers fought.

The Flanders poppy is now a poignant reminder of the fallen soldiers on both Armistice Day on 11 November (after the Second World War, Armistice Day became Remembrance Day) and on Anzac Day on 25 April in Australia. They are worn with pride, used in wreaths and sold to raise funds for charities that support returned solders.

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