Red poppy extravaganza lights up WA landmarks as part of Armistice celebrations
Media Statement from Hon Peter Tinley AM MLA
- Animated lightshow will use 59,000 red poppies from November 5-11 to commemorate the Centenary of Armistice
- Western Australians urged to remember the sacrifice of the fallen and pass on Anzac heritage to future generations
Red poppies, one of the most powerful and enduring symbols to emerge from the horrors of World War One, will be used as the basis of a spectacular light show that will illuminate some of Western Australia's best-known buildings.
The week leading to November 11 will see the light installation projected onto buildings from Exmouth to Bunbury, Geraldton to Albany and from Kalgoorlie to Perth in a commemoration of the sacrifice of those who served in World War One - a global conflict that ended when Armistice was declared on November 11, exactly 100 years ago.
The Armistice ended four brutal years of fighting on land, sea and air.
Australia suffered devastating losses of life during the conflict which claimed more Australian lives than any other conflict. From a population of less than five million people, 416,809 Australians enlisted for service in World War One, 32,231 of them from WA.
By November 11, 1918, 59,357 of the 330,000 Australians who embarked on overseas service had been killed, or died of wounds and disease.
The resilient red poppy was one of the few plants to grow on the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium.
Featured in John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields, poppies came to symbolise the blood of fallen comrades and are considered a powerful emblem of remembrance for those who die in war.
Prominent landmarks linked to war service across WA will be lit up by a projection of thousands of cascading poppies. The light installation will run for one evening at each of the following locations from dusk until midnight:
- Exmouth: The Vlaming Head Lighthouse - Monday November 5, 2018
Exmouth was used as a military base in the Second World War. Two Japanese attacks were carried out on the Exmouth Gulf area in May 1943.
- Geraldton: Museum of Geraldton - Tuesday November 6, 2018
HMAS Sydney was sunk off the coast of Geraldton in 1941. This was the largest loss of life in the history of the Royal Australian Navy.
- Kalgoorlie: Kalgoorlie Town Hall - Wednesday November 7, 2018
- Albany: Albany Town Hall - Thursday November 8, 2018
In 1914, 30,000 Australian and New Zealand troops departed Albany for Egypt and the battlefields of World War One.
- Bunbury: St Patrick's Cathedral - Friday November 9, 2018
- Fremantle: WA Maritime Museum - Saturday November 10, 2018
In 1914, the 11th Battalion, the first battalion raised in WA departed Fremantle for the landing at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli.
- Perth: St George's Cathedral - Sunday November 11, 2018
Comments attributed to Veterans Issues Minister Peter Tinley:
"The impact of World War One on Australia, our way of life and our identity as a nation cannot be overstated.
"The personal stories of those impacted by the war are incredibly moving and I am honoured to be part of the Centenary of Armistice commemorations.
"Poppies are an enduring symbol of remembrance of World War One that we proudly wear on November 11 each year.
"The cascading poppies light show will be a spectacular way to honour our servicemen and women a century after their sacrifice and service.
"It is important to understand how the war of a century ago helped forge Australia's identity as a society and the impact it had in the broader arena of world affairs.
"We have a collective responsibility to ensure that the lessons learned from World War One are carried through the generations.
"I encourage all Western Australians to get to one of these landmarks and attend the light show and to take a moment to ensure that we never forget the contribution of those who suffered and died to protect our freedoms and security."