Melbourne Festival marks end of the Great War

Melbourne is turning red for its annual festival this year to commemorate the men who lost their lives a hundred years ago in the First World War, fighting for our freedom. 

Over the weekend of the Art and Architecture Trail, September 15 and 16, the festival team will be dressing the town in woollen poppies which have been knitted by townspeople.

During the summer Melbourne’s knitters have created 4,680 poppies to commemorate the Grenadier Guards who lost their lives during the Great War and during the festival they will be displayed by Melbourne Pool.

The project was inspired by Frank Green, a Grenadier Guard who lived in Pool Cottage Care Home in Melbourne and fought in the Second World War.

Sadly Frank died in 2017 but his idea has come to fruition and he will be commemorated with an aluminium poppy donated by Matthew Warburton of Aluminium Art.

Another highlight of the 2018 festival will be a painting commissioned by Melbourne Parish Council from local artist Michael Cook to commemorate the centenary of the end of the war (see picture above). 

Michael took his inspiration for the painting – called Swords into Ploughshares and exhibited in the Assembly Rooms – from Melbourne’s market gardening heritage.

There are 70 venues in this year’s trail which will be hosting 140 artists exhibiting everything from acrylics to zinc. One of them will be Sujata Aten who you can read about in the print/online edition or artsbeat or on the next post on this page.

In addition to the art and poppies there will be live music, food stalls and plenty of fun for families. As well as the trail weekend the full Melbourne Festival programme also features nearly two months of concerts and performances. 

A highlight that follows the First World War theme will be Melbourne Remembers an outdoor concert by performers including Melbourne Town Band, Melbourne Male Voice Choir and A’Choired Taste.

For more information go to