• Nicholas Hastie & Rebecca Fawcett-Smith

Crochet To Commemorate This Remembrance Day


Thousands of bright red, crocheted poppies are set to brighten Buchanan Park, Burpengary this Remembrance Day (November 11), with the Burpengary Community War Memorial Committee calling on the community to join them in realising the 5000 Poppies project.

A community tribute of respect and remembrance, 5000 Poppies was originally started by two Australian women, Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight, who simply wished to pay respect to their fathers who had fought in World War II. Making 120 crocheted poppies to ‘plant’ at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne in 2013, the women sparked a massive community outpouring, with an estimated 50,000 plus contributors and hundreds of smaller localised tributes now occurring each year across Australia, New Zealand and beyond; in respect and remembrance to those who have served in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, their families and their communities.

The Burpengary Community War Memorial Committee are one of many groups around the country and world organising local installations for their 2018 Remembrance Day service. Once compiled, the poppies will be mounted onto mesh sheets, and suspended on the panels of the Buchanan Park memorial.

“Getting involved in the 5000 Poppies project is a way to engage community interest in respect of the memorial, and to honour those that have gone before us so we can remember them in some way,” says Committee Treasurer and Community Liaison, Natalie Elliott. “The Burpengary War Memorial is only five years old, over a million dollars was spent on it, and there’s a lot of history there, with poles representing each war.

“Our ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day parades have gotten bigger and bigger. We have mainly engaged ex-serving members and school children, and we need to engage other groups in some way. I thought the 5000 Poppies project would be a good way of engaging the elderly women.”

Local community organisations already contributing to the project include the QCWA Burpengary Green Wattles, Oak Tree Retirement Village and Bindawalla Gardens Retirement Village.

“People are excited about doing something that they can do to be a part of the commemorative service. Not everybody has the ability to march or get up and speak or sing. The poppies are something little that they can do.”

With a ball of eight ply red wool, a 4.5mm crochet hook and a willingness to learn the only prerequisites, Natalie emphasises that volunteers don’t need crocheting skills to get involved.

“I didn’t know how to crochet, so I sat with some older ladies and learnt a new skill in half an hour,” she says. “This is a simple pattern.”

A variety of poppy patterns are available on the Burpengary Community War Memorial Facebook page and 5000 Poppies website, with would be contributors welcome to receive guidance from QCWA Burpengary Green Wattles members who meet twice a month at Caboolture Region Environmental Education Centre (CREEC).

“I will also be organising a morning tea with QCWA where we will teach people how to crochet the poppies,” says Natalie.

With 2,500 poppies still left to be made, the Burpengary Community War Memorial Committee encourages and invites all members of the community to get involved. Poppies can be posted, to the attention of Natalie, to PO Box 262 Burpengary QLD 4505.

For more information visit the Burpengary Community War Memorial Facebook page.


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