When Lynn Berry and her sister-in-law Margaret Knight, began knitting poppies to honour their fathers’ service during the Second World War, they had no idea it would capture the public imagination and inspire tens of thousands of people around the world.
Their own personal tribute in 2013, grow into a massive community tribute of respect and remembrance that would take them to the battlefields of France, lead them to meet the Queen, and culminate in a moving display of 62,000 poppies as part of a five-week commemorative program at the Australian War Memorial to mark the centenary of the Armistice that ended the First World War.
Originally Lynn and Margaret set out to make a modest 120 woollen poppies to “plant” at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne for Remembrance Day to honour their fathers: Wal Beasley, and Stan Knight.
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.
Iulia Wishart is the Group Leader of the Cairns Poppy On Group. Iulia started crocheting Poppy’s in honour of her own family members that had served in the Military but now she likes to think that everyone ever enlisted from the Unknown soldier to the highest rank, has their own individual connection. As Iulia crochets a poppy she wonders about which lonely individual, who suffered thousands of miles from home, this simple red token could be representing.
The group continue to crochet poppies in remembrance and respect of all those that have served our country. They hope that this initiative will inspire the younger generation to ask questions about our military history and carry on the ANZAC tradition.
Every year Iulia and the Cairns Poppy on Group wrap poppies around the Tobruk pool sculpture for Remembrance Day to pay tribute to our fallen soldiers, and current and serving veterans. This year Iulia and the Poppy On Group will be wrapping the poppies around the Tobruk Pool Sculpture on 10 November.
On the first Friday of the Month, The Cairns Poppy On Group meets in the Cairns RSL Sub Branch Boardroom. If you would like to join the group or learn how to crochet Poppies please contact Iulia on 0408 792 123. Their next catch up is Friday, 5 November at 10 am.