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60,000 Hand-made Poppies for World War 1 commemorations

The Australian War Memorial is one of my favourite Canberra locations both for family history research and as a place to catch up with friends. During a recent visit to Poppy's café* at the Memorial I came across a group who meets there weekly to knit, crochet or create felt poppies for the sculpture garden display from 5 October to 11 November this year.

The War Memorial hopes to have more than 60,000 poppies carpeting the lush grounds - one for every Australian killed in World War 1. The event will coincide with the 100th anniversary commemorations of the end of World War 1.

Volunteers from all over Australia are knitting poppies and posting them to the War Memorial. Some are made by individuals while others are created by craft groups who get together socially to hand-make the poppies to a defined pattern.

Amanda, one of my oldest friends, is one such person who responded to the call for knitters to contribute to this wonderful community project. It brings to mind so many Australians - mothers, daughters, sisters and others who spent time knitting socks and making comforts to send to soldiers on the front lines during World War 1.

Some, like my great grandmother Catherine (Roney) Frawley, did their bit as members of local Red Cross chapters, while others met in informal groups or simply made time for knitting during their busy days in any way they could. From reading many letters from soldiers at the front, their efforts were certainly appreciated.

Have you found evidence in your own genealogical research of family members contributing to the home front efforts during World War 1? I hope you will share some of your findings here in the Comments section.

* Poppy's café is named after Trooper David “Poppy" Pearce who was killed in Afghanistan in 2007. He joined the Army in his 30s and was nicknamed Poppy by his younger comrades.

Photo : from my own collection

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