Linda Emery, esteemed historian and archivist, is guest speaker at the Berrima District Historical Society's meeting on Thursday, August 22. Linda will talk about the soon to be published book on the Poppy Seed Project, focusing on the stories of some of the soldiers and families featured in it.
In January 1920, the director of the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, Joseph Henry Maiden, received a parcel from France, sent to him by Ettie Rout, secretary of the New Zealand Volunteer Sisters. The box contained poppy seed gathered in the Somme Valley by the school children of Villers Bretonneux and came with a request that the seed be distributed to the relatives of Australian and New Zealand soldiers who had fallen fighting on the battlefields.
Joseph Maiden, a meticulous man, kept registers of seeds and plants coming in and out of the Botanic Gardens, so the names were recorded of all those people who applied for and received poppy seed to plant in memory of their loved ones.
The Poppy Seed Project has involved tracing the recipients of the seed and the soldiers in whose memory they were planted. Of almost 1100 names listed in the registers, 650 have now been connected to soldiers who died during World War I. It has been a collaborative project of both interested researchers and members of the Berrima District Historical Society, which received a Centenary of Armistice Grant to publish the results of the research.
The meeting will be held upstairs at the Mittagong Research Centre. All are welcome to attend. For those who have difficulty with the stairs, two assistants will be on-hand to help. The meeting starts at 2pm, Old Council Chambers (next to Playhouse), Bowral Road, Mittagong, with afternoon tea provided.
Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 4872 2169.