Between 5 October and 11 November the Australian War Memorial in Canberra hosted a remarkable outdoor installation that commemorates the Australian lives lost during the First World War. Sprawling across the green lawns of the Memorial, the 62,000 Poppies Display was a captivating tribute to the Australians who volunteered to fight on battlefields far from their homeland.
The 62,000 Poppies Display is truly impressive to behold – not only because of its sheer size, but also because poppy is unique. With an installation of this scale, one would be forgiven for thinking that the flowers have been massed produced. However, each read poppy was been hand-knitted or crocheted by a community of some 50,000 volunteers across the world. The project traces its roots back to 2013, when Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight knitted 120 poppies to “plant” at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne in honour of their fathers who fought in WWI. Since then, with the help of well-known landscape designer Phillip Johnson, the project has grown each year. In May 2016, an exhibit of 300,000 of the symbolic flowers made headlines as the main attraction at the world-renowned Chelsea Flower Show.
In addition to the poppy display, visitors were able to view the names of all 62,000 Australians who lost their lives during the First World War at the War Memorial’s Roll of Honour.