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Sunday, April 26, 2015 00:11
There are a number of 'Suttoners' who live overseas and are readers of this website, I thought some locals may be interested in our 100 year Anniversary Celebrations.
ANZAC Day – Having lived ‘down-under’ since 1967 it has become a very important day to me too. Whilst 11th November is honoured here in Australia and New Zealand our special day of remembrance is ANZAC Day and 100 years on from the landing at Gallipoli, this year was extra special.
Caloundra, where we live, is a small beach side town at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast but when you see the thousands at this ceremony it feels as though ‘everyone’ is here.
We left home at 0410 for a 0530 ceremony – wearing our rosemary sprigs we walked along the boardwalk from one part of Caloundra to another, to Kings Beach, where the ceremony is held each year. I guess it is fitting that there is minimal lighting along this beach boardwalk as we made our way sometimes stumbling a little, with crowds of others, to the designated area in the dark before dawn. The park area is alongside the beach and a large screen has been erected so that we are able to watch the first part of the ceremony which is on the beach itself. We are an hour early and it is already looking full, full of families spanning all ages. The crowds spilled onto the streets and into an adjoining park where another screen was to show the entire ceremony.
What a start to the official ceremony!
Surf lifesavers came in over the waves, rowing their boats, bringing the New Zealand and Australian flags ashore. It was not a re-enactment but it was symbolic of the landing at Gallipoli. The two flags were unfurled at the beach and passed to Air Squadron Cadets. A few red fireworks briefly set the scene there but then, up in the park, the large screen showed footage from the war archives where battle scenes and gun fire made you hold your breath until the drummer took over for the next part of the ceremony.
The two flags were ‘slow marched’ into the area through an honour guard which peeled off as the flags passed by and followed the procession to the Cenotaph. 15,000 people standing in silence with only the drum beat is a goose bump time.
The two flags were raised and once the Catafalque party of Military and Navy Cadets were in position the next part of the ceremony began.
In addition to the address and other annual items, Mathew Flinders Anglican College Wind Orchestra, (a local high school) accompanied the soloist and the gathered crowd with two hymns and also played during the wreath laying ceremony. Their sound was very fitting and very professional and I had to check the program to make sure it wasn’t a recording. As they do each year, students from two other local high schools gave ‘Children’s Recitals’ their own words of what ANZAC means to them. Very moving! As always, the Piper playing The Lament and the Bugler first with the Last Post and then the Reveille were there to play their important and chilling parts during this remembrance time.
It was daylight of course as we walked back, the crowds either wended their way along the beach or the boardwalk, slowly, and not just because of the numbers, most people still looked to be in memory mode, feelings that were fitting for this important day.
Sunday, April 26, 2015 22:00
Lovely description Brenda. Unfortunately our weather let us down, but still record crowds at the Dawn Service Melbourne.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 11:00
|Yes excellent narrative Brenda of the big day in Australia marking the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli. I'm only sorry I couldn't be in Australia to join in with the remembrance commemorations this year. I followed much of it on Australian news channels in the weeks leading up to the 25th April and on the day itself.
Incidentally 2 Sutton servicemen (Lieut Nelson Petty and Pte Percy Stell) were Killed in Action at Gallipoli and several others (exact numbers unknown) served in and survived the disasterous Dardanelles campaign.
Another Sutton serviceman (Pte Stanley Archibald) survived the Gallipoli campaign, only to be Killed in Action on the Western Front in 1916.
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