ABOUT

What began as a small personal tribute by two Australian women to honour their fathers who both fought in World War II, has become an international tribute of respect and remembrance to those who have served in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, their families and their communities.

Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight set out to crochet a humble 120 poppies to “plant” at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne Australia for Remembrance Day in 2013 in honour of their fathers Wal Beasley (14/32nd Battalion – Australian Imperial Forces) and Stan Knight (Queen’s Own West Kent Regiment – British Army)

It was this simple tribute of love and honour that sparked a massive community outpouring with an estimated 50,000 plus contributors to the project and hundreds of smaller localised tributes throughout Australia, New Zealand and beyond.

More than 300,000 stunning handcrafted poppies have been contributed from all over the world. Contributors include children as young as two, right through to people aged 102, and from many different backgrounds and cultures.

In March 2015, 5000 Poppies teamed up with Australia’s premier landscape designer Phillip Johnson to create a stunning tribute garden at the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show.

For Anzac Day 2015, 5000 Poppies again teamed up with Phillip to create a spectacular tribute on the steps of Melbourne’s Federation Square and on Princes Bridge.  The installation provided an emotional backdrop for Melbourne’s Centenary of Anzac commemorations.

Fed Square Banner PicGratitude Anzac Day 2015 Karyn Mitchell

In May 2016, the entire tribute was a highlight of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London. Many thousands flocked to the installation in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and many of the Royal Family.  They were astounded at this simple tribute of love, honour and respect.

The simple, elegant design for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show included over 300,000 (2,000 sq metres) of handcrafted poppies, including 1200 stems contributed by women from the UK community knitting group “Knitting for Victory”.

In July 2016, 26,000 stemmed poppies were “planted” at the Cobbers Memorial in Fromelles France to commemorate the Centenary of the Battle of Fromelles. A highlight for us.  Visitors to the site could not help but be moved by the simple sentiment of the tribute.

There have also been hundreds if not thousands of 5000 Poppies inspired tributes throughout Australia and overseas for the duration of the Centenary of WWI.

In 2016, 5000 Poppies left 3000 beautiful poppies with the our wonderful friends at Rotary District 1520 and a further 3000 with the Australian Ambassador in France to use throughout 2017 for significant commemorations on the Western Front.  They have been planted at a number of sites including the commemorations for two significant battles in Belgium .. the Battle of Hill 60 and The Battle of Polygon Wood.

For Remembrance Day 2017, we were privileged to take our installation to the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne … a very big one on my personal wish list with my father’s battallion’s tree in Anzac Avenue at the Shrine.  It was beautiful, poignant and very very special.

The team is currently creating a final spectacular installation, this time for the Australian War Memorial in Canberra for Remembrance Day 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the end of WWI.

In addition, the team are also making 50,000 poppies for the RSL as part of the 2018 Poppy Appeal.

To that end, we continue to collect poppies … and we would love you to join us.

Patterns are available here.

East Malvern RSL in Melbourne, Victoria is now home to the 5000 Poppies team.  If you would like to join us, we currently work from 10.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Flanders Room on the ground floor.

5000 Poppies has been a four year labour of love for many thousands of people.  The project has been well over a million hours of volunteer labour in the making, and is a stunning acknowledgement of the service and sacrifice of our servicemen and women, their families and their communities.

There are many many people to thank :

First and foremost our contributors and our incredible volunteers … some 50,000 wonderful contributors from all over the world … all ages and cultures, who have helped us and continue to help us with poppy making, assembling, distribution, planting, unplanting and storing.  It is an amazing accomplishment and we are justifiably proud of what we have created in tribute.

Phillip Johnson and his team at Phillip Johnson Landscapes have been instrumental in the success of the project both in Australia and overseas.  Phillip’s simple, elegant designs for all of our major installation have brought our poppies to life.

Phillip Johnson LogoOur major sponsor, the Victorian Government must be congratulated for its vision in providing the funding to enable us to take the entire installation to Chelsea.  This is not a small undertaking and without a significant grant through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Chelsea would still be just a dream for us.

VIC_LOGO_FAOur official carrier Qantas flew the entire installation and team to London and home again.   The estimated load was 35 cubic metres of poppies – approx. half the cargo hold of an A3 Airbus.

Qantas Logo

We also have a number of key supporters who have provided much needed assistance throughout the project.

We are incredibly grateful to RSL Victoria who are also right behind the project with a significant grant.PrintCarpet Call Australia is donating approx 300 sq metres of beautiful red carpet for the centre of the installation … one we live in hope that the Queen will do us the honour of walking on.

Carpet Call logo

The Australian Government who along with one very generous private benefactor and with the incredible help of Neil Mitchell at 3AW funded our sojourn to Fromelles.

Image result for australian government logo

And we also owe a huge debt of gratitude to our graphic designer who has been unstinting in his support for the project from day one … with our logo and all of our marketing collateral.  Taso you are a genius and you have done and continue to do an amazing job for us.

akd-logo-footer

Postal address : 5000 Poppies, P.O. Box 115, Ashburton 3147

email : 5000poppies@gmail.com

blog : 5000poppies.wordpress.com

facebook : 5000 Poppies

97 Responses to ABOUT

  1. Kevan V says:

    I’m very glad to have found your site.

    I’m originally from Canada, but have been living in the Czech Republic for the past 14 years or so.

    For the first few years I lived here, I couldn’t find poppies and it really bugged me that I couldn’t wear one on the day. Eventually, a group in Prague extended their reach to other points in the country and British style poppies became available to me where I live.

    Happily, there is a trend towards Czechs becoming more aware of their ancestors’ contributions to both World Wars (much of that information was withheld from Czechs during Socialism) and they have in recent years created their own poppy of six petal design with national colour ribbon attached.

    Certainly part of their heightened awareness of Czech contribution in battles past comes from the modern Czech military’s contributions in present actions around the world.

    Traditionally, like much of continental Europe, the Czechs use May 8 as their major day to honour veterans. However, there does seem to be a trend towards doing something around November 11 as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s