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Poppy Memorial
Poppy Memorial

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

The sculpture commissioned by GlaxoSmithKline honours Steven King's contribution to the Tasmanian Poppy Industry and pays tribute to all who have advanced and pioneered the industry in Tasmania.

The poppy industry was introduced to Tasmania in the late 1960s by the Edinburgh based company, Macfarlan Smith, a subsidiary of Glaxo. Macfarlan Smith had been doing trial work in the UK aimed at establishing the industry in that country, but finally recognised that the unreliable English summer was not suitable for poppy production. Their researcher, Mr Steven King, examined weather records for several countries and came to Australia with a view to establishing the industry in Victoria. The Victorian government was not interested in the proposal, and Mr King turned his attention to Tasmania, a location which he had previously overlooked due to not having climate data. He found the Tasmanian Department of Agriculture a willing partner in establishing trials, and over several years Tasmania was confirmed as a suitable location for poppy cultivation.


Address:Victoria Parade , Devonport, 7310
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -41.175639
Long: 146.362022
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Technology
Designer:Peter Hjort


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 31st March, 2004
Front Inscription

This memorial celebrates the pioneer of the poppy growing industry in Tasmania, Stephen King.

In 1964 the Glaxo group decided to concentrate poppy cultivation in Tasmania after unsuccessful attempts to grow poppies in the UK and trials in several other Australian states.  As director of poppy research and production for Glaxo in the 1960s and 1970s, King encouraged a research culture in the industry and oversaw significant developments in the areas of field production and factory processing. The continuation of this research has led to major breakthroughs in the development and utilisation of:
Improved poppy varieties capable of producing high yields of alkaloid
Chemical control of insect, weed and disease threats to the industry
Improved planting and harvesting techniques
King’s important role in the Industry’s success was recognised in 1979 with an OBE for services in the development of the oil poppy industry.

We recognise all who have pioneered and advanced our unique Tasmanian Poppy Industry, including growers, contractors, government agencies and staff of Tasmanian Alkaloids and GlaxoSmithKline.

A tribute to the success of the Tasmanian Poppy Industry and one man’s vision and contribution

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au