Anzac Day crowds pause to remember

Castlemaine RSL president John Whiddon, mayor Rosie Annear and Castlemaine RSL secretary Barb Templar are pictured at Tuesday's service.
Castlemaine RSL president John Whiddon, mayor Rosie Annear and Castlemaine RSL secretary Barb Templar are pictured at Tuesday's service.

Community members turned out in force at Anzac Day services across the local region on Tuesday April 25.
A huge crowd gathered to honour our Anzacs at the Castlemaine dawn service followed by another sizeable crowd at the main service.
The Castlemaine Highland Pipe Band led marchers from the Castlemaine Town Hall along a new reversed route down Hargraves Street and into Mostyn Street to the cenotaph. Marchers included ex-service personnel and family representatives, Castlemaine Returned & Services League (RSL) and Legacy members, CFA and SES personnel, local Scouts and Girl Guides, school students and the mayor Rosie Annear.
The crowd was welcomed by Master of Ceremonies Alan Lane who gave an acknowledgement of Country and oversaw the mounting of the ‘Cenotaph Guard’ of local Scouts and Guides.
Mr Lane said the Anzac Day tradition was not a time for the glorification of war but for sombre reflection.
“The sight of so many graves (crosses) reminds us of the terrible cost of war and, of course, the tragedy of so many young lives lost did not end there. The pain of their loss lived on in the hearts of all those who loved these sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, and friends. While war may at times be unavoidable Anzac Day is a time to remind us of the preciousness of peace,” he said.
Mr Lane also spoke of the Pacific War campaign in Papua New Guinea and the bravery of the Papua New Guinea people which risked their own lives to protect our troops, the 50th anniversary of the cessation of the Vietnam War and the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.
“Forty Australians are still listed as Missing in Action in Korea,” he said.
“As we look around us at the sacrifices that those who lay here made despair must not be our tribute to them, rather as we consider the enormity of their sacrifice let us remember that their true and lasting legacy is the freedoms that we continue to enjoy to this day,” he said.
The Castlemaine Highland Pipe Band then performed a stirring rendition of the Highland Cathedral.
Alan then welcomed RSL president John Whiddon to the podium.
John acknowledged the recent 100th birthday milestone of WWII Corporal Maisie Douglas the oldest local service member.
John also shared the inspirational story of Royal New Zealand Airforce pilot Vance Drummond who served in the Korean War and survived interment as a prisoner of war before later serving in the Vietnam War and being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Emma Sayer and the Thompson’s Foundry Band then performed the hymn ‘Oh God Our Help in Ages Past’ before Mount Alexander Mayor Cr Rosie Annear gave her address.
Cr Annear acknowledged that the ceremony was being held on Dja Dja Wurrung country and honoured our elders past, present and emerging and all those indigenous people who served and continue to service in Australian military forces.
“I’d also like to acknowledge and honour the sacrifices made by all members of our armed forces – those who paid the ultimate price, those who returned with scars both seen and unseen, spoken and unspoken, and to all those family members and friends who waited at home for all their loved ones gone to war who supported our service members through good times and bad. We thank you for your service,” she said.
Local singer and musician Maggie Jackson then shared a beautiful moving tribute to our Diggers with a performance of Lee Kernaghan’s ‘Spirit of the Anzacs’ which acknowledges that those who so bravely fought and died for our country and the freedoms we enjoy today were everyday Australians – a farmer, a drover, a city lad.
Castlemaine Secondary College School Captains Laura Smolak and Lucie Price also spoke sharing their thoughts on Anzac Day.
“My speech today is inspired by one of my favourite novels Gallipoli Street. As I read I realised how blindsided the Anzacs were, just pawns in a game of chess for the politicians of the world. A number, a statistic, not treated as the sons, husbands and fathers they were,” Laura said.
“As they sailed away from home some thought it would be a trip away, a chance to go and weed out the Turks in a week or so and return home heroes. They didn’t know they were sailing into an awaiting ambush. Two thousand men, some even younger than I, died on that first day at Gallipoli,” she said.
Community representatives then took the chance to lay wreaths at the cenotaph which was surrounded by a sea of little white crosses honouring each service person from our local region which has served our country in conflict and peace keeping missions since World War I.
RSL president John Whiddon then led the crowd in the citing of the Ode to Fallen Comrades before a member of the Thompson’s Foundry Band sounded out the Last Post and community members observed a minute’s silence in remembrance.
Emma Sayer and the Thompson’s Foundry Band then rounded out the service with performances of God Save the King, Advance Australia Fair and God Defend New Zealand.
Those in attendance were invited to join the RSL for morning tea and an Anzac biscuit to follow the service.
Anzac Day Services also took place at Campbells Creek, Chewton, Maldon, Newstead, and Harcourt and last Saturday an Anzac Day match was also contested between Campbells Creek and Carisbrook with Anzac Medals awarded to the Best on Ground and Court on the day.

Castlemaine Mail
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