We Did It …

Good morning Poppy Friends … what an amazing day we have had in Melbourne …. truly … everything has just fallen into place with this amazing community project that we just assumed that the weather would play it’s part … could not have been more wrong.  It rained on an off all day … except however, as we did the mammoth job of moving the whole installation from Fed Square to Princes Bridge so the marchers could march through it … and again when we moved back to Fed Square.

It was a big day for us …. starting at 4.00 a.m. as we rolled up the 10 metre panels which were absolutely soaked … I think their start weight dry is approx 15 kg … wet … around 40 kg each.  Thank God for the men and women of the MFB – Melbourne Fire Brigade (and just quietly Paul Richie who had the connections).  Lifting those incredibly heavy loads looked so easy for them and they did it with a big smile twice in one day.  Huge thanks also to my very good friend Ian Cornwell from Doncaster Mitre 10 … with his truck … it made moving the load to and from Princes Bridge so much easier.  And of course … heartfelt thanks to all those who helped with the deinstall and reinstall … including my own very precious family.  And lastly … Phillip Johnson … what a dynamo that man is … the vision and the execution … he was a force to be reckoned with as he marshaled so many people into a cohesive team and Marg and I are SO grateful for his enormous will to get the job done … and what a job he did.  In retrospect I keep wondering to myself …. how would we have done it without the firies …. ever ambitious … I just knew it would happen somehow.

But the highlight of the day was the thrill for us as we watched the marchers march through the poppy field  … something I will personally never forget.

And at the conclusion of the march … straight back to Fed Square … rolled out and replaced in record time before the rains came again … and just in time for the helicopter fly over with the camera … to see a HUGE field of poppies again on the steps at Fed Square.

Congratulations all of you … an incredible job, incredibly well done.

So … what you have been waiting for … more pics. Not in any order at all … just random pics taken from a range of sources … I hope you don’t mind that I have borrowed them for a moment or two …

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The Show has Begun …

Good morning poppy friends everywhere.

It is done … the first round of installations in Fed Square are complete.  As our massive group of volunteers descended upon Federation Square in Melbourne yesterday … and a 12 hour plus install commenced I am not sure any of us were ready for the impact of the work we have been doing for the last two years.  There will be more photos and content to follow … but thought you might like to see a few pics from yesterday’s install to excite you this morning.

There are several parts to this installation … the two fracture galleries in the Atrium where we are flaunting our beautiful strings and ceramic poppies alongside gorgeous knitted and crocheted creations plus a static display in the atrium itself which is most of our non yarn poppy panels …  the photos are not great but there will be more today in the daylight.

11062341_900324396677548_6634209880454863734_nFracture Gallery Fed Square Fed Square Deakin EdgeFirstly our beautiful sculpture on the Fed Square forecourt … titled GRATITUDE .. by the wonderful and amazing Adrian Egglestone and his equally amazing team at Uniweld Engineering (Melbourne).

Fed Square Sculpture 2 Fed Square SculptureAnd last but certainly not least … our main installation on the forecourt at Fed Square.  A beautiful “field” of more than 800 square metres of poppies … in an installation designed by our own Phillip Johnson … it is simply breathtaking in its simplicity and beautiful to behold.

Fed square Forecourt 1 Fed Square ForecourtThere will be more photos to come … but I wanted you to be sure to catch some eye candy as you woke this morning.

Enjoy the fruits of your labours. Marg and I are grateful for your contribution.

But wait … there’s more.

The 5000 Poppies New Zealand team has also posted images of their installation in the Navy Museum, Devonport .. a stunning installation.  Lisa Wallace and Trena Lile and their team have done an amazing job.

5000 Poppies New Zealand 2 5000 Poppies New Zealand

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Wow … that few weeks went fast …

Good morning poppy friends.

We are now into our final week of organisation before the big event next week.

11062341_900324396677548_6634209880454863734_nFor the past two years we have been collecting your beautiful poppies for what promises to be the most spectacular community event on the Anzac Centenary Calendar, and for the past eight weeks we have been working solidly on the physical display … it has taken every ounce of energy and every second of our time and the help of many hundreds of volunteers to get to where we are today… we have constructed 80 – 10 x 1 metre panels of poppies (800 square metres)  on nets and a further 14 panels  – 2 x 1 metre panels of non yarn poppies … They are absolutely beautiful … works of art and so imbued with our respect and gratitude for our servicemen and women and their families … It has been a labour of love and such an honour to be involved with this project, and with the contributors and volunteers … many personally but also those who contribute not only their beautiful handcrafted poppies, but also through our facebook group and other channels.

Marg and I were playing with some numbers during the week and we estimate (and we realise that it’s an incredibly conservative estimate) that well in excess of 50,000 contributors and volunteers … and more than 130,000 hours have gone into making this tribute alone…  We have received more than 250,000 poppies and have spent many thousands of hours of assembly, admin and organisation.  That doesn’t include the many thousands of hours that have been spent on making poppies in the community for local display that this project has sparked …

I must also make mention of Phillip Johnson (Phillip Johnson Landscapes) who has been tireless in his dedication to this project … his stunning garden at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show was amazing and a real teaser for the big event … he has been amazing.  We are lucky and incredibly grateful to have his help.  Also I would like to recognise the efforts of Ted Baillieu … who has promoted the project everywhere he can throughout the last two years … both personally and in his capacity as the Chairman of the Anzac Centenary Committee in Victoria.  I also want to thank the RSL State President: Major General David McLachlan AO and the Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle, who have both supported the inclusion of the poppies in the march … so our veterans and their families can fully appreciate the depth of feeling from the national (and international) community.  We have been lucky to have these men in our corner.  They have helped to move mountains.

From little things … big things grow.

So … now the hour is almost upon us and we are all about to launch our tributes.

I must say, without reservation, it has been an honour working with you, and Marg and I cannot thank you enough for your involvement, creativity and commitment to our wonderful project.

So … a few important dates and information :

Our initial installation will be activated on the main forecourt in Fed Square Melbourne on Friday 24 April (we will be installing on Thursday evening).  You can visit the site on Friday and see our beautiful field of poppies in all its glory.  There will also be a static display in the Atrium in Fed Square and both Fracture Galleries … at Flinders Street and Deakin Edge.  There will be poppies on strings, loose poppies, stunning ceramic poppies and many others … these displays will be set up over Thursday and Friday so will be up in time for Anzac Day.

On Friday morning there will be a press conference in Fed Square at 10.30 a.m. You are all invited to come along for our presentation to the world at large.

Also on Friday we are planning to meet en masse in the late afternoon (with families in tow) to marvel at our creation and perhaps share a drink (although I am told by Fed Square that we cannot drink in the Square proper … there are a number of establishments in the upper square and lower that we can congregate in at some stage for a celebratory drink).  There will be no formal ceremony … but many to share a poppy making yarn with as we celebrate a job incredibly well done (that feels like an understatement in light of what we have achieved over the last two years). If you are in Melbourne, Marg and I would love it if you could join us at 5.00 p.m. Friday 24th on the forecourt in front of the display in Fed Square.

On Saturday morning (while many are at the Dawn service), much of the original display on the forecourt will be moved onto Princes Bridge (down the road) for the duration of the march … to allow our marchers to march through them. It will be a very emotional thing for us I guess and also for the marchers to be able to walk through the middle of our tribute … I expect there won’t be a dry eye in the house.  After the march they will be moved back to Fed Square for the remainder of Saturday and all of Sunday.

On Sunday night the poppies will be moved out of the weather and down to the Atrium (under cover), although we will not have space for all of our panels.  They will stay in the Atrium until Friday May 1 and then the panels will be put into storage.  the remainder of the display in the two Fracture Galleries will stay until at least May 4.  So there will still be poppies to see …

This is quite a complex activation I know but it is a great way to allow as many people as possible to see as much of the display as possible.

We have enough volunteers listed to cover all the physical work … but spare a thought for us … it will be very hard work.  I will be contacting those who have volunteered in the next day or so to lock in times.

I think that is it.

Except that … we are now taking EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST from those wishing to apply to exhibit all or part of the display over the next four years.  The whole display … or at least our 80 panels are planned to go to Perth for Remembrance Day this year but other than that … nothing else is locked into place.  If you wish to contact me directly to express your interest in displaying all or part of the installation at a gallery or event … please let me know by email : 5000poppies@gmail.com with the subject line Expressions of Interest.

Lynn x

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The Countdown Begins ….

A wonderful warm welcome to all our poppy friends ….

What an amazing journey this has been.

We have just had five wonderful days in at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show as part of Phillip Johnson Landscape’s gorgeous Anzac tribute garden for his great grandfather who fought and lost his life during WWI in the Somme.

Phillip’s beautiful garden was a heartfelt tribute to his great grandfather’s memory of life  at Reedy Creek near Broadford in Victoria … and his love of his family and how much he and his comrades missed the Australian bush.  The garden was spectacular … as much for its sentiment as for it’s physical beauty … and we at 5000 Poppies were proud and so honoured to be an integral part of this amazing and very moving collaboration … borne out by the many thousands of visitors to the garden and their wonderful comments.

In some ways I wonder if it might be hard to beat that feeling … but then I think of what we will be unveiling in the centre of Melbourne on Anzac Day and my heart skips a beat … because I know that our wonderful servicemen and women and their families will be so moved by this incredible national and international tribute we are planning for them.

So enough of that … final planning meetings are happening this week … and it’s all about to come together.  We cannot wait to share our plans … and I know you are all waiting with bated breath … but can you be patient just a little while longer … it will be worth the wait I promise.

We as a community …. and I mean that in the widest possible sense because we are from many parts of the country and indeed the world, have done an amazing job making and collecting poppies and now we are getting towards the end of our preparations for Anzac Day and I just wanted to let you all know that it’s impossible for Marg and I to thank you enough for your involvement, your commitment, your ownership, your time, your dedication and your enthusiasm and excitement at what we are doing.

By any measure the project has already been an amazing success story … with so many thousands of people coming together to share their work, their stories, their skills and their time … and Marg and I think, the culmination for Anzac Day this year (and throughout the remainder of the Centenary) is the icing on the cake.

We still have a way to go with the panels we are making and would love to keep the momentum up at Morris and Sons for just a couple more weeks … and we will be done … love to see you there to help out if you have a spare minute > 234 Collins Street Melbourne (above Dymocks) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Mon-Sat (except over Easter) until we are finished.

In the meantime I wanted to share a few images from the Garden Show if you haven’t already seen them – there are many more on the facebook page.

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Still … counting down to the big day ….

As you probably already know, we will be finishing up poppy assembly at the Town Hall Melbourne tomorrow (Thursday) which is disappointing because it has been such a wonderful venue for us.  Lots of space … lots of tourists and visitors … and SO much interest in what we are doing.

However, the good news is that we have now secured space at Morris and Sons in Collins Place – Level 1/234 Collins Street, Melbourne … just around the corner from the Town Hall. It’s not as big a space as the Town Hall so we will be pared down a bit … but they are excited about having us there and we are excited about being there. So NO POPPY ASSEMBLY ON FRIDAY….and I. SIMPLY. MUST. CATCH. UP. ON. ADMIN and my washing (but you don’t really need to know that).

We will resume at 10.00 a.m. this SATURDAY for the day. and then Monday to Friday 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. until we have completed our assembly. Would absolutely LOVE to see you there.

Can you please let me know what days you are planning to come by email (if you haven’t already) 5000poppies@gmail.com


Because we don’t have quite as much space at Morris and Sons as we have been lucky enough to have at the Town Hall, we need to keep a lid on the numbers.

A big thank you for your ongoing interest and support.  We havenow almost completed  Panel no. 49 of 80 which is simply an amazing achievement … only 31 to go … easy peasy.

Woohoo …. this is going to be big!!!!!

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The Final Countdown

Good afternoon all.

We are having an amazing time assembling the display for our massive field of poppies for ANZAC Day, and it will be a MASSIVE field. We are assembling around 800 square metres of gorgeous handmade (with love) poppies from all over the world … but mostly home grown in Australia.

Today there are close to 40 people in our workroom at the Town Hall having a wonderful time creating something very special.  Just to share with you the diversity of where we come from …. Bendigo, Ringwood Nth, Glen Iris, Essendon, Hawthorn, California Gully, Mooroolbark, Mitiamo, Fawkner, Fiji, Abbotsford, Cheltenham, Surrey Hills, Parkdale, Sunbury, Croydon, Dundee NT, Mont Albert, Bayswater, Kilsyth, Point Cook, Blackburn South, CBD, Rosanna, Fitzroy, Aspendale, Oakleigh just to name a few.


So … here is the thing.

We now have enough poppies for our project … well and truly.

We are winding down our collections now.  We have amassed an amazing 225,762 poppies from contributors all over the world and there will still be a few more late ones coming in.  So thank you we are done.

But it doesn’t have to end there …

If you are still making poppies or if you have just started … that’s not a bad thing.  What I would REALLY love to see now is for those people who still want to make a difference with their poppies … is MASSIVE YARN BOMBS (be brave) in your area.  Cover inanimate objects in and around your suburb on ANZAC Day … your town hall, your local RSL, your local Cenotaphs, your local cafe, school, retirement villages … cover them all.  Do it with our love, our respect and let them know that we remember their service and their sacrifice.

This fantastic project has started a massive community movement and we are proud of your commitment and your involvement.

Marg and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Lynn xxxxx

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Poppies are Pouring In

So … it’s been less than a week and SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED.

We have had wonderful press over the last few weeks with Channel 7, Channel 9 TV, a couple of radio interviews … and this morning Marg and I appeared on ABC Breakfast News …. to chat about the project … and it’s growth, it’s very personal meaning to Marg and I, and also to the wider community.

We are now in full swing preparing poppies for the installation … that is taking ALL of our time and energy … we are constructing 80 x 10×1 metre panels of poppies … a whopping 800 square metres.  It’s looking fantastic … thanks to all of your unique poppy contributions … every single poppy has a place and, as we construct the panels, we get to marvel again at the skills, creativity and generosity of our contributors.  You are simply amazing and we cannot thank you enough.

10633891_785507404852318_7377191597940584697_oWe have been lucky enough to be working out of the Melbourne Town Hall in the centre of the City of Melbourne … and we are so thrilled that there has been so much public interest in our work … many hundreds … even thousands of visitors have been drawn in to look at what we are doing … not surprisingly!

So … we are at the Town Hall again tomorrow (Wednesday) … and then Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Federation Square to continue our poppy panel assembly, then back at the Town Hall again for four days next week. Keep your eye on the facebook group page and on the blog for further updates.

We still don’t have a permanent home for assembly which is hampering our activities somewhat but we are making incredible progress with what we have managed to secure to date.

Many of our supporters have been incredibly generous … donating funds to help with the costs of installation.  We want you to know what a difference that has made to the ultimate quality of the display.  No one will be disappointed in the final display(s).

So … we look forward to your continued support … and would love you to join us over the next week or so to help assemble the panels and look forward to meeting many of you.



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