News & Events

ANZAC Day 2017

April 19, 2017

The red poppy, which flowered on the battlefields of Belgium, France and Gallipoli in 1915, has become a symbol for ANZAC Day. It speaks of life lost in war and it gives the living a chance to reflect on our history and current military involvement. That’s certainly what’s happened at OCAV’s Currie Park village in Euroa in the lead up to ANZAC Day this year.


Residents, led by artist Gill Coates, have come together to create a stunning piece of art that will be a centrepiece of the village’s April 25 ceremony in the community room.  The metre square canvass features about 100 poppies made and painted by a group of residents. Gill has painted the bugle-playing soldier – a haunting solitary figure in the field at sunset.  It’s not hard to imagine the sound of The Last Post being played.


Euroa has a proud military history, being home to three Victoria Cross recipients – Lieutenant (later Major) Frederick Tubb, Corporal Alexander Burton and Lieutenant Leslie Maygar.

Read their remarkable stories here.

Gill said residents were familiar with the town’s remarkable history and ANZAC Day was an important event in Euroa as it is across the country. While the focus of the canvas has been ANZAC Day, for Gill it was also about bringing people together to express themselves and to use their artistic abilities in ways they never imagined.


“If you ask people to join an art group, they immediately recoil and say they are not at all artistic and they certainly can’t paint or draw. But of course they can and they have and our canvas is the result of their work,” said Gill, who moved into Currie Park one year ago.


The ANZAC Day canvas has been developed over several weeks inspired by a piece of newspaper Gill noticed while eating fish and chips. She was struck by the image of the solitary soldier and realised that people might respond better to the idea of an art group if they worked on a specific project.


About seven women meet each week and have made the poppies out of recycled egg cartons. The poppies were then painted red, with a few white added, and attached to the canvas.


“It’s a great outcome because it involved everyone who came along. All these women have created this piece of art and it is wonderful. I have guided and supported the project, but the group has done it. Working each week has also been a chance for people to speak about their connections with the wars,” Gill said.


The project has given Gill an opportunity to throw herself into art, something that she has struggled with since the death of her daughter several years ago. She has painted, drawn and sketched most of her life, but ‘shut down’ after her daughter’s death.


“Moving here has been a real tree change for me and it has been a good move. There is a such a peacefulness to this area and my creativity has certainly come back in abundance,” she said.

Caption: Back from left – Patricia Benedict, Ellen Doyle & Jessie Mills and seated in front left is Amy Wyatt. Back on Right side is Iren Miskolczy, Gill Coates (Artist) and Heather Norris (seated).

The newsletter features artist Gill Coates looking at the completed work.

We also thank the Currie Park artists for the use of the lone soldier image used in the newsletter. This is part of the larger artwork.



"There is nothing I would change that would make my life any better. I have two loving sons and family and I thank God every day that OCAV took me in when I had nothing," said Jill Dale, Braeside Park resident.

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