Poppy Project

The Reverend John Ward | Rector | Parish of Kalamunda
The Reverend John Ward | Rector | Parish of Kalamunda

St George's Cathedral at Christmas

Like many churches around Australia, St Barnabas Kalamunda has a Roll of Honour board from World War One. This board lists family and friends known to the parishioners, each name added on enlistment. Four are marked to signify their death in active service. The board's status as a sacred artefact saw it moved from the original 1898 weatherboard church to the 1928 brick building and then to the 1963 iteration of St Barnabas Kalamunda. During the war parishioners prayed for, wrote letters to and waited for the return of those on the Roll of Honour.

We can imagine the women of the parish knitting socks for those on active service. In 2018 women, men and children of the parish knitted, crocheted, folded, cut, glued, stitched, shaped and painted poppies to mark the Centenary of Armistice.

The St Barnabas Poppy Project evolved from ten, then sixteen, large wire poppy sculptures to include 600 small poppies and the research and preparation of a summary of the service records for those on the Honour board. The sculpture group worked on the wire poppies, drawing in people willing to help, and little poppies started appearing, sometimes twenty, sometimes one, beautifully crocheted or knitted. Families cut and glued felt, and the Dads and Kids breakfast made origami poppies. It all came together on 3 November with the installation. We are part of a widespread movement determined to honour those who served, determined to remember those who went, those who perished, those who returned, and moreover, those who waited for them. The poppies we installed and blessed will be for us signs that we remember them.

Article published in December 2018/January 2019 Messenger magazine