Ten thousand poppies and violets will be displayed in an art installation at Toowoomba’s Mother’s Memorial for the city’s 2019 Anzac Day Commemoration services. Trees, embankments and the pathway leading to the main East Creek Park memorial will be adorned in panels of red and purple flowers.

Mayor for the Toowoomba Region Paul Antonio said the Mother’s Memorial was built on the mothers’ love for their sons and relatives who did not return from World War One. “These bereft women and family members gathered small bundles of sweet violets to sell for threepence to raise funds to build the memorial.”

In the 25th Battalion, more than 370 allied troops were killed, lost or wounded in the campaign following the initial Japanese landing at Milne Bay on Papua New Guinea’s south east tip on 26 August, 1942. Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said it was heartening to see a modern re-telling of this violet story and that the installation would bridge generations by throwing new light on the story behind the Garden City’s floral emblem, the violet. “Residents attending a service at Toowoomba’s Mothers’ Memorial for Anzac Day might wish to reflect on the story behind its existence,” Mayor Antonio said. “Anzac Day is an important time to pause and pay respects to all servicemen and women.”

Toowoomba resident Chris Just said each poppy represents a life and honours a service. “We want the visual impact of our poppy and violet installations to linger in the minds of the Toowoomba community on ANZAC Day,” he said. “The white netting signifies the women who never became brides, while the violets pay tribute to the mothers and women of Toowoomba who bundled violets for sale to help fund the Mothers’ Memorial following World War One.”

Mayor Antonio encourages residents to attend any of the services across the region to honour the lives of the fallen and the selfless service of all past and present military and civilian personnel.

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