ANZAC Day Dawn Service 2020 – A streetside ceremony

Memorial in Kings Park. Photo: Tilly Esse.

This year all Dawn Services were cancelled throughout Australia due to the corona virus lockdown regulations.

The Prime Minister however, advised us to still ‘remember the Anzacs who fought and died for us,’ and to take family and our chairs, if required, to gather at the front gate with a radio and a lighted candle.

Our ‘little neck of the woods’ consists of a short end section of road with bushland on one side and four house lots on the other, two of these containing three to four units, the other two containing two houses each – so we are a tad limited for people.

As we gathered in the dark at our gateway each holding a lighted candle, we looked if any neighbors had come to ‘Remember The Anzacs.’ On the right a lady in uniform stood strictly to attention holding her lighted candle. On the left were two men and one lady with their candles; so, as we were a couple of oldies sitting in our chairs, we invited the others to join us. It was quite a moving little scene as we huddled in the candlelight listening solemnly to the Dawn Service – just six of us gathered round the radio in the candle-light.

For several years now we have attended the Dawn Service in the old Quarry site and at the end the Last Post was always played on a bugle. As the playing ceased it was always followed by the call of a lone Kookaburra, soon to be followed by several other birds echoing across the valley – a fitting end to the tribute for the Anzacs.

I had been thinking that we would miss the bugle this year, but no. We first heard bugle strains from the Village, and it seemed another from the Quarry, and just as the music faded on radio and in the valley, we heard the kookaburras again paying their tribute – it was spine-tingling!

As we chattered together afterwards, one chap said, ‘We usually drink the Toast to the Troops. I think I might still have something back home,’ and off he went to search. We had brought our mugs of hot tea and were sipping when he returned saying, ‘I found only this small amount of rum’ and he shared out a little to whoever was interested.

Once again it was a real Aussie tribute to the Anzacs.

Aileen Knox

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