Spokesperson Graham Christie said the November 11 initiative would recognise the Queenscliff Cemetery as a key military site, and afford respect to the fallen within its grounds.
Mr Christie is urging relatives to identify and nominate the graves of those who served, dating back more than a century, to ensure they are recognised with a poppy tribute.
“The thought being, that should the national day be restricted under the COVID19 guidelines - in line with the ANZAC day and Vietnam Veterans Day services in 2020 - our RSL Sub-Branch could ceremoniously place a poppy at each of the historical military grave sites in this cemetery, as a tangible remembrance to all local heroes of the past,” Mr Christie said.
“These cared-for sites include many of our famous, including Violet Duddy, Sir Thomas and Dame Vera Deakin White… together with many Boer War fort soldiers [and] many other such heroes as Captain Colin Springall.”
As part of the initiative, poppies would be placed by relatives at graves in the week leading up to remembrance Day, allowing them to plan ahead.
The tribute would remain in place permanently, and the graves would eventually be mapped by the Geelong Cemetery Trust.
“Our prestigious Avenue of Honour no longer displays the actual details of the soldier or nurse who were lost in war, died of wounds in the hospitals… and/or those who died on their return to their homeland,” Mr Christie said. “The grandeur of these Monterey Cypress trees remains but the identity of each of the fallen has been extinguished over time.
“It should be noted that many WW1 Queenscliff Lads who perished in the Great War are in the beautiful cemeteries of France and Belgium, but those who returned are most probably in this lovely garden area – but not known.
“A Poppy at each site would be rated a most popular activity by the entire Community.”
Raised in Queenscliff, Ms Duddy served on the frontline at Gallipoli. Her father was also Secretary of our First RSL Sub-Branch Committee in 1919.
Sir Thomas was a First World War pilot, prisoner or war and later Federal politician. Dame Vera, the daughter of Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, was appointed an Officer of the British Empire for her work with the Red Cross during the First World War, while Captain Springall manned pilot boats through Port Phillip Heads.
“I am asking that our community consider such a memorial process, that I believe would become quite remarkable… irrespective if we are even permitted to hold a normal commemorative service,” said Mr Christie.
Relatives wanting to participate in the project can contact Mr Christie at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 0418 521579.