Well Fromelles was amazing. Everything we hoped for and so much more.
Not as big an installation as we had at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, but still sizeable, and incredibly emotional … and our tribute touched the hearts of all who visited … busloads of Australians, English, French, New Zealanders, Germans … and many more. People from all walks of life … many seeking to connect with distant (and not so distant) family and friends who fought right there … on that ground. We are so grateful that they stopped to share their stories … it was the icing on the cake.
Cobbers was the perfect spot for us … beautifully compact and right in the middle of all that picturesque French farmland. The Cobbers memorial is a poignant reminder of our mateship and our commitment and yes our losses … and it is sacred turf for Australians … a battle scarred plot of land … one of many in that part of the world. It is humbling to know that the French don’t forget the Australians … and still welcome us with open arms.
Rural life has resumed, ducks are quacking in the background, crops are growing all around, but there are little reminders everywhere of the hell that it must have been one hundred years ago. It is truly hard to fathom the amount of devastation and loss as you sit among this incredibly beautiful, peaceful vista … especially at sunup when it’s oh so quiet and the dew is on the poppies. The stunning image above was shot on an iPhone 6 at dawn by our Phillip … Il est beau est-il pas?
The installation was a true community effort. Phillip Johnson’s amazingly simple, elegant design was perfect in every way. It’s a mathematical jigsaw puzzle that he makes work on every level … and we cannot thank him enough. We also could not have done it without the help of all of those wonderful people who came and stayed … and in particular Jean Pierre Engelen, District Gouverneur and Daniele Aurich who marshaled the troops from the local Rotary District … they shared the load with us, among many others, and it made our workload so much lighter in so many ways.
Here are a couple of links to some of David Brooks’ amazing videos on the Fromelles installation. There are many more on on both Fromelles and the Chelsea journey on Vimeo … Google search Brooksy Films.
Love Lynn and Marg