The project stands as a salute to the sacrifices of the Great War and the peace that followed. The Governor of Queensland, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC officially opened Project Poppy at the Maritime Museum at Southbank.
A Pleasure Garden of thousands of red flowers bordered by rosemary hedging has been installed in the main museum park, commencing at the Goodwill Bridge and trailing almost to the Griffith Film School. Embedded in the garden are speakers on an endless loop playing songs loved by the troops in WW1. A two-metre wide poppy sculpture will also dorn the mast of HMAS Diamantina sitting in the South Brisbane Dry Dock.
The trio is completed by a four storey high image of the poppy painted on the curved museum building by local artist Clare Stephens. She says it’s a blessing to partake in this project. “The symbol of the poppy has a deep personal significance to me, representing my love & connection to my dear father who returned to the spirit world nine years ago,” she said. “This whole project pays respect to our past generations whilst also symbolising peace for our future.”
CEO of Queensland Maritime Museum Matt Rowe says the museum wanted to utilise its visible location to pay tribute to the Centenary of Armistice, the peace at the end of the war. “The poppy plays an important role in our intangible cultural heritage as the symbol that immediately evokes the memory of the Western Front. Literally millions of people will see our tribute as they drive, walk or sail past the Museum,” he said. “As a museum, our remit is to engage and educate our community and preserve artefacts from the past that will tell our story to future generations.”
The Museum currently has an exhibition that explores the role of the Australian Navy in WW1, War at Sea, closing after Remembrance Day on 11 November.
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