Poppies Sought for Remembrance Day

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow between the crosses row on row

Mark our place and in the sky the larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below

from “In Flanders Fields” by Major John McCrae, Ypres, 1915

After a successful engagement involving our community and those even further afield, having received crocheted poppies from the UK, we now look forward to filling the Hospital courtyard with red poppies to commemorate Remembrance Day on November 11.

Poppies at Sydney Eye Hospital Fountain

“The Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital Anzac Day commemoration was so well represented by the crocheted poppies and gave staff and volunteers the opportunity to make a heart-felt contribution. We are so pleased to be able to do this again in November as part of our Remembrance Day ritual and acknowledgement of those who fought in World War 1”

– Jennie Barry, POWH/SSEH General Manager

World War I placed a heavy strain on Sydney Hospital, clinical graduate enlisting with the armed forces and many donors unable to give their usual support.

Altogether, 149 staff enlisted, including senior medical officers, resident medical staff, nursing and general staff. Matron Rose Ann Creal, whose position had been confirmed in 1899, enlisted for war service in August 1916 to be appointed matron of the 14th Australian General Hospital at Abbassia, Egypt. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross (1st Class) in the New Year Honours of 1919, before returning to Australia in 1920. She resumed duty as matron of Sydney Hospital but died in August of the following year. The Rose Creal Medal, established in her honour, was the highest award made by Sydney Hospital to students of the Lucy Osburn School of Nursing.

Miss A Maud Kellett, Miss Creal’s assistant matron, was decorated whilst on active service (25th General Hospital at Boulogne, France), as were many of the Sydney Hospital nurses.

In 1917 an Honour Roll was placed at the main entrance foyer of the administration block containing names of members of the medical, nursing and general staff who volunteered for active service – a gift from the president of the hospital, Mr A E Jacques.

The above text is an excerpt from Australia’s First Hospital, written by Caroline Wilkinson.

Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation is assisting with this very special project.

“Whether you craft poppies from paper, crochet or knit, as Friends of Sydney Hospital volunteers are doing, we welcome your contribution,” said Linda Fagan, Chief Executive Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation.

Sydney Hospital & Sydney Eye Hospital
Sydney Eye Hospital Map

Why we make poppies

During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants that sprouted on the battlefields of Belgium and northern France.

The poppy’s popularity stems from a poem written by a Canadian medic, Major John McCrae, in 1915. His poem, In Flanders Fields, recalls the red poppies on the war graves of soldiers who died on the Western Front in Europe.

Learn about the poem and the red poppy as a symbol of commemoration.