Since the centenary of the First World War began, it has become a familiar sight around Junee.
But now, Rita Broad’s handmade commemorative quilt is making its way across the Riverina, bringing comfort to war widows and orphans along the way.
It currently hangs on the back wall of Legacy House in Wagga but upon its return.
Mrs Broad has loaned it to the charity and expects others will make similar requests of the ornament’s temporary lodging.
But once it is returned to rest with the maker herself, she expects it will last forthwith to become an important family heirloom.
Made in 12 months before the 2015 anniversary, Mrs Broad’s quilt holds deeply personal significance.
“I handstitched the Flanders Field [poem] onto the left,” said Mrs Broad.
“The third verse is where Legacy’s promise comes from.”
Sitting at the final phrase of the poem, it reads: “Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw. The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die. We shall not sleep, though poppies grow; In Flanders fields.”
Since childhood, Mrs Broad has “carried that same torch”. Herself a legacy ward, she had three uncles who served on the Western Front and in the Middle East. Her grandfather also fought from the home front.
Her father died of war-related caused Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when Mrs Broad was only 14.
One uncle – Lesley Breasley – was lost at the Battle of the Menin Road, in September 1917.
“He was one of the ones I was researching when [making the] quilt,” said Mrs Broad.
Likewise, her husband Derek Broad was also a war orphan, becoming so when he was 16 years old.
He later served at the Battle of Coral-Balmoral in the Vietnam War.
“I think it’s important to remember the sacrifice they made, some of them had only two week’s training before they were sent to the front,” said Mrs Broad.
“It was never meant to be a fabulous quilt, it was meant to tell their story. That was more important,” she said.
Though functional in its intended purpose, Mrs Broad has been surprised to see so much support for her quilt, many telling her “it’s simply beautiful”.
“I mostly give [my quilts] away after I’ve made them, but this one is sentimental. I’d like it to remain in the family.”