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Red for remembrance

Ballan RSL member Graham Christensen selling Remembrance Day poppies, badges, pens and wristbands as part of the Poppy Appeal. Photo - Helen Tatchell

By Meg Kennedy

A unique memorial has bloomed and is cascading down the front of the Ballan Post Office, creating a unique display for the upcoming Armistice Day commemorations.
A blossoming installation of over 1500 handmade poppies appeared at the post office, a backdrop to the cenotaph, last week, the result of almost six month’s work by the Ballan and District Country Women’s Asociation (CWA).
The idea for the display came from CWA member Val Theodore and her mother Alison Stewart, who had seen an installation from family in Scotland. Ms Theodore thought the initiative would suit Ballan, and the branch embraced the idea.
“Originally mum and I thought we would just knit some poppies and create a wreath. My grandfather served in World War II. I lost my great grandfather in WWI,” Ms Theodore told The Moorabool News.
The Poppy Project commenced in early July this year with an aim to collect and create 2000 poppies, but the branch ended up collecting 3000.
“We have been overwhelmed with the contributions of knitted and crocheted poppies by local and non-local women,” said Ballan CWA President Symone Barry, explaining that some poppies have arrived from as far away as Scotland and Queensland.
810 poppies are featured on each banner of the post office display, each flower representing the men and women who have served from Ballan and District area.
“It has been humbling to be able to provide an outlet for women to share their stories of their grandparents, fathers, mothers, uncles and aunts who sacrificed so much for Australia,” she said.
The branch has also created a ‘Flanders Fields’ made of 150 recycled plastic poppies which were made from plastic bottles and bags, which will be on display at the Ballan RSL and the Myrniong cenotaph.
The recycled poppies will later be donated to the Flower Tram Project for the 2019 Ballarat Begonia Festival, a commemorative project celebrating 80 years since the decorated floral trams, which were used during the 1938 and 1939 Ballarat Floral Festivals.
Ms Barry said the project “has connected our branch with many local and non-local women willing to assist us in creating this tribute to those members of our community who have served our country during war over the past 100 years.”
An Armistice Day100th Anniversary display is being held at the Ballan RSL every day this week until Saturday 10 November, 10am-3pm.

The Ballan Post Office with over 1500 hand made poppies
Photo – Meg Kennedy