07 Sep Oceangrove Village Commemorative Poppy Wall
Craft mornings at Dee Why RSL Club’s Oceangrove Village took on a new inspiration when they heard of the “5000 Poppies” project; a very worthwhile goal to mount a display in Melbourne for the ANZAC 100 commemorations, with similar displays in Auckland. While initially considering participating the project, it was later decided that instead of sending poppies to Victoria, the group would mount their own commemorative display to be enjoyed right here in Dee Why’s Oceangrove.
So craft group members & Residents sprang into action and spent nearly 4 months hand knitting and crocheting 1500 poppies, creating a spectacular display panel centred around a wreath with a very special slouch hat belonging to one of the residents’ late husbands.
Plans were drawn up for the display, and the residents felt that the slouch hat was so symbolic of an Australian Digger, and therefore a fitting centrepiece for their commemorative wall. This was to be surrounded by Flanders Poppies (red with the black centre), as seen in the fields of France and now a recognised symbol of remembrance, from its association with poppies flowering in the spring of 1915 on the battlefields of Belgium, France and Gallipoli. The words ‘ANZAC 100’ and verses from the poem ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon were chosen, and the enormous task of creating the panels ensued, with the wording inscribed by one of the residents, who is a retired draftsman. The panels were measured, sewn and the wreath mounted. Poppies were then taped, glued and meticulously individually stitched to the wall for strength.
The Oceangrove ANZAC 100 Display can be seen at Oceangrove during ANZAC commemorations, and is a collective effort that truly brought people together. It was a huge undertaking and the craft group is grateful to all who freely gave their time, skills, and experience.
Verses taken from the poem ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon
– As inscribed on the Commemorative Poppy Wall:
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow,
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.