Project Poppy 100

Project Poppy Unfurls at the Maritime Museum

On Monday 29th October 2018 at 10am, the Queensland Maritime Museum unveiled a spectacular salute to the memory of a past generation as their contribution to the Centenary of Armistice. Project Poppy is a series of three oversized art installations designed to assault all the senses with the poppy flower, the symbol of sacrifice and peace of the Great War.

The Governor of Queensland, his Excellency Paul de Jersey officially opened Project Poppy at 10am on Monday 29th October at the Maritime Museum at Southbank. The audience of one hundred guests, museum volunteers and school children enjoyed the music of the Royal Australian Navy Band and Birralee Choir soloist Emma Anstey-Codd. Emma performed at Villers-Bretonneux on Anzac Day last year.

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 endless loop playing the songs loved by the troops in WW1.

The songs were recorded by choirs from four local schools: Somerville House, St Laurence’s College, Brisbane State High School and Junction Park State School. As the guest strolls along the garden, the music changes from choir to choir and song to song. At night the garden will be bathed in a wash of vivid red light.

A four storey high image of the poppy has been painted on the curved museum building. The local visual artist Clare Stephens has captured the blood red of the simple flowers, which blanketed the fields of Flanders and the Somme. The poppy was imbedded in the psyche of the generation that lost 60,000 of its youth, as a tangible symbol of their loss.

The trio is completed by another large artwork, a two-metre-wide poppy sculpture to adorn the mast of Diamantina, veteran of another war, sitting in the South Brisbane Dry Dock.

‘The Museum is situated in one of the most visible riverside sites in Brisbane, so we decided to exploit that and make it our canvas for our tribute to the Centenary of Armistice’, said Matt Rowe, CEO of the Queensland Maritime Museum.

‘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 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.’

The Museum currently has an exhibition that explores the role of the Australian Navy in WW1, War at Sea, closing after Remembrance Day on 11th November.