Creative artists Christene Just and Jayne Hodge have had a long time friendship since school days, through their fathers serving in PNG, then returning to take up careers in architecture and building after
the war, and through their ongoing respect for the stories of local Toowoomba servicemen and their families.
The inspiration for their collaborative project of handmade polar fleece, knitted and crocheted poppies and violets has definitely been the story of Mrs Hogarth. As Jayne looks up the hill from the Mothers’
Memorial and sees the home of the Groom family, she recounts the story which inspired their labour of love. Having lost 3 of her 4 sons in World War 1 campaigns, Mrs Hogarth ended up writing to the
politician Sir Littleton Groom, to please bring her fourth son home safely without his knowing. This request was achieved. So many bereft mothers had their families changed forever.
Stoic Toowoomba mothers were determined their community would forever remember the bravery of those sons who never returned. They raised the funds to build the Mothers Memorial by selling
Toowoomba’s Sweet Violet floral emblem. “The violets represent the tenacity to go ahead and get the job done. The purple poppies represent the animals and the red poppies for the fallen servicemen
across all wars.”
When people from all over Australia hear the story, they embrace the concept and feel compelled to continue the visual impact that seeing the mass of poppies brings. They have contributed to Christene
and Jayne’s vision via pre-Covid workshops in Toowoomba and Christene recently received 100 white Peace poppies the other day. The friends believe there are more than 1 trillion stitches in the 40,000 flowers.
Everyone who has made flowers for the project has an association with the memorial – whether it is through parents who served or through respect for the service of the fallen or the ongoing need for
recognition and keeping the memories alive. The younger generation also proudly contributes to the legacy. Flowers from the Geham State School’s ANZAC service have been added to the installation.
A remarkable legacy has been built by two friends collaborating and sharing their creative spirits, time and energy to gift to all of the Toowoomba community.
The community thanks you most sincerely
Blog by Molly