Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON
This shot of a major Melbourne landmark was taken about ten days ago. This is the main entrance to Flinders Street Station and it is one of the most photographed sights in the city.
The row of clocks above the entrance portal actually show the next scheduled departure on each suburban train line. Back in the pre-cell phone days, the clocks played an important role in city life, for they were a standard meeting place. Someone just had to give you a specific time and say "We'll meet under the clocks" and hey presto, it worked like magic.
Melburnians wear poppies with pride but I didn't know until I did some research, that the poppy was regarded as a weed because it once grew freely in corn fields. Yet we know them (as our parents' generation knew them) as Flanders poppies - because in that wartime zone of death the blood-red poppies flourished in the trenches and numerous bomb craters.
The image above was shot at the Shrine of Remembrance here in Melbourne - and yes, those are real poppies growing in the shape of a cross. I'd never really thought about it, but the poppies made their appearance in much the same way as eucalypt seeds are released by the heat of Australian bushfires and flourish in the lush ash beds that are completely clear of weeds.
In the same way, poppies grew freely in the Flanders battle zone, where artillery shells, mortars and slivers of shrapnel ploughed the fields in a harvest of sudden death.
This photograph (below) shows an endless array of carefully crafted artificial poppies. Today, these are the poppies we wear in the lapels of our business suits. Even schoolchildren wear poppies and, more importantly, they are taught why they are so significant.
Our parents, who lived through two world wars, wanted not just a symbol to commemorate those who laid down their lives but, more importantly, a symbol to remind us that it should never happen again.
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