Ourimbah RSL mural will help the Coast remember
"REMEMBERING" will touch hearts and stir memories when Rosie Wood's emotive digital mural is officially unveiled on the facade of the Ourimbah RSL Club on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day.
In the four years of The Great War, the War to End All Wars, more than 330,000 Australians served overseas and almost 62,000 died.
For all those who have served their country in the years since, the 100th anniversary of the end of the war - the celebration of peace - has a special meaning which photo- grapher Rosie wanted to capture in her mural.
Rosie admitted there was much she would have liked to have included in the almost three-metre-square piece, but she wanted to ensure the mural kept its local focus and didn't become overcrowded.
"It's been a real collaborative effort, with so many people involved," she said.
At its centre is her close-up of Ourimbah RSL member Des Foster, hand on heart, with his medals.
Des served in the New Zealand Forces from 1941, including postings to Egypt and Italy, but he and his wife Eve followed their children to NSW and have lived in Gosford for the past 21 years.
It's an Anzac link Rosie was pleased to include, alongside one of Ourimbah RSL's most prized pieces of memorabilia, a photograph of 16 original local Light Horse troops at Ourimbah Station.
While it had "suffered the battering of time" after more than 100 years, Rosie spent many hours in restoring the photo, and was touched by how young the men looked.
"It is such a privilege to be able to use this image in such a timely way for the anniversary of the end of World War I," she said, pondering what had happened to those men, and what sacrifices they had made.
There's also a nod to the women who have served through an old photo of the sub-branch secretary, Barb McNab, in her World War II naval uniform.
"It represents remembrance, and that's what it's all about - remembering all those who have given their lives in all wars, battles and conflicts," RSL sub-branch president Dave Pankhurst said.
"Rosie put in hours and hours of time and I take my hat off to her; it was her brainchild and she's done very well."
That dedication to her piece included Rosie actually tracking down and growing her own Flanders poppy seedlings to photograph.
Her work was made possible by a Central Coast Council Placement grant, and is complemented by the efforts of the "Poppy People", co-organised by Ourimbah RSL sub-branch affiliate member Jenie Pankhurst.
Together, they have crafted and gathered about 5000 knitted and crocheted poppies to be strung around the archway at the station cenotaph and form a blanket across the hedge of the RSL for Remembrance Day and Anzac Day.
Jenie said that as well as donations from the Australian War Memorial and knitters throughout the country, the group had drafted in the services of the club's bingo ladies who play on the same day as the ladies knit.
If you can lend a creative hand, or help in the assembly of the poppies, contact Jenie through Ourimbah RSL.
The Ourimbah RSL Remembrance Day service, which attracts about 100 people annually, will be held at the club's cenotaph at 10.30am, with the usual minute of silence at 11am on November 11. The mural will be unveiled at the service's completion.
Contact your local RSL club to find out what they are doing to mark Remembrance Day.