Residents get crafty to mark Anzac Day 2020 in Port Stephens

Sisters Grace and Abi Rolfe have been hard at work this week creating more than 200 poppies to display in the front of their Raymond Terrace home on Anzac Day.

Inspired by the Anzac Day march they were part of in Newcastle two years ago and on learning about the driveway tributes being held across the nation this year due to COVID-19, the siblings, aged 9 and 10 respectively, decided to get crafty and create a poppy display.

"I asked [Grace] and her sister why they wanted to do this. They said to remember all the people who have fought for Australia to let us live in the great place that Australia is now," the girls' step-mother, Blaze Rolfe, said.

"Two years ago we took them to the Anzac Day march in Newcastle where they participated... with the war widows and Legacy ladies. They carried the banner for them, saw the all the Army, Navy and Air Force personnel."

The girls were unable to participate in the march again last year and, due to the current COVID-19 crisis are unable to march this year.

Grace overhead Ms Wolfe's mother, Kay Aburn, talking about standing at the end of her driveway for dawn service on Saturday. Grace said she would do that with her but the pair took it one step further.

The poppy project began four days ago when the girls' school, Rutherford public, asked its students to send in their Anzac Day art.

Grace, Ms Aburn and Abi decided to craft enough poppies to decorate the front yard of their home in Raymond Terrace. So far the trio, with some help from other family members, have created more than 200. And they are not all red, but also purple to commemorate service animals and white to represent peace.

The girls have also given some of their poppies to neighbours and friends to display on Anzac Day.

"My father, who passed away in 2000, was in the Air Force and would love to see his grand kids understanding and appreciating Anzac Day and the sacrifices that the Anzacs made for our freedom," Ms Rolfe said.

Grace and Abi are not the only young Port residents getting crafty to pay tribute to service personnel past and present this year.

Corlette resident Sarah Lyon, 11, has been making lanterns for her neighbours to display at the end their driveways on Anzac Day. Picture: Rod Lyon

Corlette resident Sarah Lyon, 11, has been making lanterns for her neighbours to display at the end their driveways on Anzac Day. Picture: Rod Lyon

Young Corlette resident Sarah Lyon has been hard at work making lanterns for her neighbours to display on their driveways.

The 11 year old has spent the past few weeks collecting two litre milk bottles which she cuts, paints poppies or crosses with the words 'Lest We Forget' on the sides, fills with sand and a candle.

Sarah has made 26 lanterns - two for each driveway in Kelp Street.

"We are not really allowed to go anywhere. This means a lot of important things have been cancelled. One very important thing is our Anzac Day Dawn service. We still want to remember everybody who served," Sarah said.

Rod Lyon said his daughter typically represents St Michael's Primary School at the Nelson Bay Anzac Day march.

Unable to march this year, Sarah still wanted to "remember everyone who served", which is how the lantern idea was born.

"These will be placed along our small but community-minded street at 5.30am on Anzac Day," Mr Lyon said.

Who you're standing for on Anzac Day

Here are some of the responses we received.

By Katrina Kittel

WWII veteran Col Booth lived Shoal Bay and Nelson Bay 1967 to 1989. Image submitted by his daughter Katrina Kittel.

WWII veteran Col Booth lived Shoal Bay and Nelson Bay 1967 to 1989. Image submitted by his daughter Katrina Kittel.

Col Booth lived Shoal Bay and Nelson Bay 1967 to 1989. He had original Bella Vista flats in Shoal Bay for four years. He was well-known by local lawn bowlers in 1970s-80s. He marched on Anzac Day but spoke little about the WWII battle at Alamein, becoming a POW and his time on the run in Italy as a POW escapee to trudge the Alps into Switzerland.

Research for a new release book, Shooting Through: Campo 106 escaped POWs after the Italian Armistice, includes his escape and evasion story and that of 25 other escapee groups. A total of 790 Australians held at Campo 106 in 1943 - rice farms between Turin and Milan - are listed in the book's appendix. Most escaped. Not all survived, as the book reveals.

I think of these POWs on Anzac Day. They've filled my thoughts for eight years during my research and writing for this book. Col was my father. These stories I will not forget.

By Sue Single

I'll be standing for three cousins who were killed at the battle of Polygon Wood in 1917: Raymond Single, Wilfred Single and Hubert Thompson.

Little Hands Family Daycare poppy display.

Little Hands Family Daycare poppy display.

By Leesha Bell

I'll be standing for my dad who fought in Vietnam and is currently battling dementia in a nursing home and for my cousin who died in the Black Hawk accident on 12 June 1996.

By Little Hands Family Daycare, Nelson Bay

This is what the children in family daycare do to respect and honour our veterans. The children made the poppies and we have put them out on display for the second year.

Help the Examiner document Anzac Day 2020 in Port Stephens

Send us your response to 'who will you stand for?' through Facebook or via email portstephens@austcommunitymedia.com.au.

Send us your Anzac Day photos and tributes.

Did you or your children make something for Anzac Day? Dress up your yard? Did you stand at the end of your driveway? Perhaps you played a piece of music? Share your photos so we can document this unconventional Anzac Day. Send us your images through Facebook or email portstephens@austcommunitymedia.com.au.

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