ANZAC Day Wednesday, 25 April


In the years immediately following World War 1, governments and society in general had not accepted the responsibility for those incapacitated and bereft as a result of war. In Britain and across the Commonwealth, unemployment accentuated the problem. Earl Haig, the British Commander- in-Chief, undertook the task of organising the British Legion as a means of coping with the problems of hundreds and thousands of men who had served under him in battle.

In 1921, a group of widows of French ex-servicemen called on him, at the British Legion Headquarters. They brought with them from France some poppies they had made, and suggested that they might be sold as a means of raising money to aid the distressed among those who were incapacitated as a result of the war.

In Australia, single poppies are not usually worn on ANZAC Day - the poppy belongs to Remembrance Day, 11 November. However, wreaths of poppies are traditionally placed at memorials and honour boards on ANZAC Day.


The first red poppies to come to Australia, in 1921, were made in France.

Symbolism of the red poppy

The symbolism of the red poppy has been translated to represent the red blood of those who gave their lives, the black at the poppies centre as the representation of the grief of their families and friends, left behind and the green of the leaf to represent the new life and growth for the hope of the future.