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Violet Verses - Sound and Light Spectacular

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
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Stunning free family entertainment
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Violet Verses, Free Sound and Light Show Family Entertainment by Illuminart Adelaide at Torrens Parade Ground


Violet Verses is a spectacular son et lumière show to commemorate a unique South Australian tradition. Produced by Illuminart and held at the historic Torrens Parade Ground in Adelaide for three days in July, Violet Verses celebrates the centenary of Violet Day.

Shocked by the massive casualties that the first ANZACs suffered in the Dardanelles landings in 1915, South Australian women turned their minds to finding ways to honour and help those at the battle front.

The first Violet Day was the brainchild of Alexandrine Seager, Secretary and Organiser of the Cheer-Up Society - an organisation of women volunteers who sought to provide comfort, welfare, and entertainment for soldiers and sailors.

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Inside the Cheer Up Society Hut in Adelaide 1919 (Image: State Library SA)


The society ran a Cheer Up Hut next to the Adelaide railway station during World War 1, where service men were always welcome. They received free meals, could play billiards and join in sing-alongs, and meet new friends. The Cheer Up Society also operated in some country areas including Murray Bridge and Burra.

For the first Violet Day on Friday July 2 1915, "scores of young ladies dressed in white were active in the city streets from an early hour, selling tiny bouquets of violets, attached to each of which was a purple ribbon bearing the words 'in memory' and a representation of a cross".

The violets were a symbol of perpetual remembrance for our war dead, and also raised funds to help the wounded, and provide income for the Cheer Up Society.

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The South African War Memorial Outside Government House


From a newspaper report: At midday, at the Soldiers' Memorial Statue (South African War memorial outside Government House) on North Terrace, a demonstration arranged by the Cheer Up Society was held. Speeches were delivered by the Governor, the Premier, and the State Military Commandant (Colonel Sandford), and Mr. G. MacEwen, Vice President of the Cheer Up Society. He explained that it was hoped to make Violet Day an annual fixture, and to establish a club for the wounded who returned to South Australia.

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Violet Memory Day at the Cheer Up Hut in Adelaide 1921 (Image: State Library SA)


Violet Day continued to be held in South Australia until 1970. Sadly it had largely been eclipsed by the more widely celebrated Poppy Day by then, and the tradition had faded over the years. All remaining funds were paid to the AIF Cemetery Trust, and the organising committee disbanded.

The Violet Verses Son et Lumière Spectacular is a colouful multimedia re-telling of the history of Violet Day. Presented by History SA and successful projection light specialists Illuminart, this free event will bring to life the wartime good works of the Cheer Up Society volunteers during both world wars.

Bring the whole family with chairs and a rug to enjoy this free sound and light show in Adelaide. It will play twice each night, at 6pm and 8pm. Food trucks will ensure that nobody is hungry, but bring warm clothes and umbrellas if the weather looks threatening. - the show goes on regardless!

The free event will transfigure the building at Torrens Parade Ground like Blinc did for the Festival Theatre. What a brilliant way to honour the many women volunteers who worked tirelessly to support their men in times of war.

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Violets Are a Symbol of Perpetual Remembrance of Our War Dead (Image: Illuminart Adelaide)


For the full details about Violet Verses see this web page, and follow the Violet Day Facebook page.

The Adelaidia website from History SA has much more information about Violet Day and the Cheer Up Society. Another article on Violet Day is here, and the Army Museum of South Australia has a display about the Cheer Up Society, including the original piano used to entertain soldiers.

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Why? Help History SA commemorate Violet Day with a free sound and light show.
When: 6pm or 8pm
Where: Torrens Parade Ground
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Hopefully the weather will be kind as I think this will be a wonderful event!
by Paula McManus (score: 3|2482) 759 days ago
Lovely article and beautiful photos Dave :)
by Jenny (score: 3|1561) 759 days ago
Had never heard of violet day till now
by Rota (score: 2|695) 757 days ago
The picture shows pansies not violets.
Violets for thoughts
by lheav (score: 0|6) 759 days ago
Mount Pleasant Soldiers Memorial Hall will be veiled with crocheted and knitted violets for the month of July, to commemorate Violet Day.
by pleas (score: 1|10) 754 days ago
We attended on the evening of Thursday the 2nd of July 2015. It was chilly, so we rugged up well. The night sky was clear with a rising moon. It was a wonderful event, enjoyed by all. Thank you. Adelaide.
by eliza (score: 0|5) 718 days ago
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