Adele’s knitted tribute to all who served World War I

WAR horses aren’t the only animals that went to war. Australian troops traveled with kangaroos, wallabies, possums and even cockatoos.

Adele Spain, a retired school teacher who has worked at Greenbank, Kingston and Waterford schools has been knitting poppies to mark the centenary of the Armistice of World War I – red for fallen soldiers, white for nurses, red with a black spot for indigenous soldiers and purple for animals that joined troops.

“Australian troops had cats in the trenches to kill the rats and white mice and slugs to detect the gas. There were pigeons to send messages,” she said.

“Dogs were used for many purposes. There were scout dogs, sentry dogs to hunt and kill the rats –  I keep mentioning rats – the World War I trenches were filled with them. There were mercy dogs that were sent to find injured soldiers.

“There were wallabies, kangaroos, possums, cockatoos, rabbits and parrots – they were there as mascots.

“There were also the horses. Eight million horses died in World War I. There were 156 000 whaler horses from New South Wales. There were also camels, donkeys and elephants too.”


Mrs Spain attended a special event to mark the centenary of Armistice Day at historic Mayes Cottage on Saturday, November 10.

It featured stories about local soldiers and nurses who went to war 100 years ago, World War One songs sung round the piano and afternoon tea.

Mrs Spain loves to knit. Her themed tea cosies, dedicated to Australia’s nurses, airmen, light horsemen and cameleers were on display.

A highlight was a knitted nurse Mrs Spain calls Teresa Dunne after a local who served during World War One and was awarded the Royal Red Cross for her work.

The doll, posed amid poppies and by a photograph of her namesake, came with working parasol, nurse’s bag, knitted purse, Australian penny and tiny replicas of English and German money, rosary and tiny bible that opened to reveal handwritten psalms and a tiny printed version of the The Lord’s Prayer.

More than 800 poppies, each marked with the name of a soldier or nurse who served in World War One were on display, each lovingly knitted or crocheted by crafters from all over Logan and labelled by hand.

The bulk – 560 in all – were the work of Ann Collins, who crocheted them at the rate of one every 18 minutes.

Remembrance Day services and events will be held all over Logan and the Scenic Rim to mark the centenary of Armistice today.

Attend a service at:

Jimboomba: WW1 cenotaph, Jimboomba Library, 10.45am

Logan Village: War memorial on the Village Green, 10.30am

Greenbank: Memorial Gardens, Greenbank RSL,10.55am

Beenleigh: Memorial Park, 10.30am

Springwood: Springwood Park, 10.30am

Beaudesert: Palm Gardens memorial, 10.40am

Canungra: DJ Smith Park, 10.45am

North Tamborine: Circle of Remembrance, 10.45am