With the assistance of the Victorian government, the highly successful community Anzac Centenary project, 5000 Poppies, has arrived in London and is proving a huge hit with all who have seen it , including the Royal Family.
Starting from a small scale project to honour those who have fallen in war with hand crafted poppies, fibre artists Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight started a poppy project which has taken on a life of its own. After the success of the first few hundred poppies, Lynn and Margaret set out to enlist volunteers with the aim of making 5000 poppies for ANZAC Day 2015. By the beginning of 2015, they had nearly 250,000 poppies – made by volunteers all over Victoria, Australia and some from overseas. Many of the knitted, felted, crocheted and sewn poppies are in memory of a loved one who served or died, in World War One or other conflicts.
Many will remember the spectacular carpet of poppies at Federation Square on ANZAC Day last year.
Inspired by the story and the visual impact on ANZAC Day, landscape designer Phillip Johnson (a Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner and Best in Show in 2013) set out to take the poppies to the world’s most famous flower show, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show. With assistance of $200,000 from the Victorian Government, and sponsorship from Qantas (to get poppies and installation crew there), Carpet Call (there is a lot of red carpet!), the RSL and others, 300,000 poppies have been transported and installed at the Show. Stretching from the Showgrounds to the façade of the famous Royal Chelsea Hospital (the home of Chelsea Pensioners whose red coats match the poppies beautifully), the installation is a showstopper.
People all over Victoria and Australia are still making poppies – no-one is counting any more but it’s more than 500,000.
A remarkable project – from a small idea has grown a truly memorable tribute.
For all of the photos visit the Anzac 100 Victoria Facebook album.