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Armistice Memorial for Bacchus Marsh

'Resting Poppy' - a collaboration with Dean Bowen


Resting Poppy


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The Bacchus Marsh RSL Sub-branch approached Wide Open Co. to submit an entry into their design competition. The brief was to create a memorial to honour all 462 First World War service personnel from Bacchus Marsh and surrounding region, whilst providing the local community with a place to honour, remember and share stories about these special individuals, as well as help to educate younger generations about the sacrifices made by people from their local community.

Wide Open Co. undertook research, spoke with stakeholders about their ideas, and explored various concepts that could create an emotive, interactive public monument that would uniquely, sensitively and boldly recognise the significant — and costly — contribution of our small town and young country. With promising concepts at hand, we sought out sculptors to develop the concepts further and make them their own.

Our search led us to Dean Bowen, internationally acclaimed, Melbourne-based artist. As fate or providence would have it, Dean discovered during the conceptual stage of the project that his great-grandfather had lived in Bacchus Marsh, served in WWI and had a tree planted in the Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour.

Lady with Flowers
Bronze, 211 x 180 x 131cm, Edition: 2/3
Commissioned by Pt. Leo Estate Sculpture Park, Merricks, VIC
Photography: David Hannah Photography

Wide Open Co. designers, Meghan McBain, Mark Gilliland and Kirsty Reid along with Melbourne based war veteran and international public art consultant, Mark Norton of Artica International worked closely with Australian sculptor, Dean Bowen, to develop two concepts — a comprehensive Public Art Proposal including details about the commission site, artists biography, artists impressions, budget, valuation, construction, transportation, installation, security, maintenance plan and project management. The proposal was presented to a panel of stakeholders, and well received.

Conceptual development - sketches, play-dough model, scale technical drawings
Map & Solar Alignment on ANZAC Day - 11am Sun position shown, and sunset in opposite direction

On Anzac Day in 2019, Bacchus Marsh RSL presented our winning submission to a large audience following the midday ceremony. Thus began an inspiring journey to create a fitting legacy for all those from Bacchus Marsh who served, or fell in the Great War.

Artist’s Statement


‘Resting Poppy’ by Dean Bowen; concept by Wide Open Co.


A symbol of the shattering of Nations and displacement of populations and families during the First World War. The abstract nature of the artwork is reversed from the front of the sculpture where the petals of the poppy and the centre of the flower align and come together to form the intact flower. This viewing point of remembrance unites us together, symbolising the return of peace. The waves of soldier’s nameplates weave through the bronze poppy petals taking the viewer on a journey of remembrance as the names of the soldiers are read.


‘Resting Poppy’ will be made up of a combination of larger and smaller petals and viewed from the designated area will form a whole poppy more than twice the size of its competition. Artwork of acclaimed international artist, Dean Bowen, will bring prestige and notoriety to Bacchus Marsh, while the ground-breaking size and abstract form of ‘Resting Poppy’ will attract visitors and media publicity to the memorial, the Avenue of Honour and Bacchus Marsh as a community.

Artist's Impression - As viewed from 'place of peace'
Westward Aspect - Sculpture is highly interactive for foot traffic, creating a desire in street traffic to stop and investigate.
Eastward Aspect - Traffic heading out of Bacchus Marsh are able to turn into the carpark and take a look at the sculpture.
The significance of the WWI commemorative sculpture cannot be over-stated; the Bacchus Marsh RSL has worked tirelessly to bring this project to life and should be commended for their efforts. “Resting Poppy” bridges the gap between the past and contemporary design, whilst maintaining its commemorative genre. When the project is completed it will add a unique and significant contribution to the Avenue ofHonour; Lest we forget.
cr paul tatchell
moorabool shire council

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