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News Meetings and Events

POPPY SEED FROM FRANCE

We were delighted to receive news earlier this month that we have received a Centenary of Armistice Grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs for $6,750. The funds are to publish the results of a project we have been working on over the past couple of years at the archives, Poppy Seed from France. From records at the Sydney Botanical Gardens, we transcribed and recorded the names of almost 1100 people who applied for and received poppy seed gathered on the Somme in 1920 by schoolchildren from Villers Bretonneux. Their express wish was that the seed be sent to Australia and New Zealand to the loved ones of those who had died on the battlefields of France, so far away from their homes.

We had the names of those who had received some seed, but not the name of the soldiers in whose memory they were planted, so we set about trying to identify them, quite a challenging task given how little information we had. However, to date, with help from a number of members both of our society and of other historical societies, we have around 600 names – and counting!  Some wonderful and very touching stories have come to light, and these will be included in the publication along with the database of names. The book will also include two essays, one of Ettie Rout of New Zealand who sent the seed to Sydney and one on Joseph Maiden, the director of the Botanical Gardens whose meticulous records have made this project possible.

GLIMPSES OF WINGELLO

A new publication has been added to our stock of publications. Glimpses of Wingello was published recently to mark the centenary of the Wingello Mechanics Institute Hall.  It is an excellent book that includes chapters on exploration, early settlement, geology, flora and fauna and local families.  The book can be ordered through our online shop, or is on sale at the archives and museum.