Valley pays its respects on Anzac Day

Telling: The Anzac legacy has not been forgotten, evidenced by the many people who attend Dawn Services across the tegion such as the one held at Moe. photograph liam durkin



THOUSANDS of people across the Latrobe Valley paid their respects at Anzac Day dawn services.
Foggy, cool conditions did not stop a crowd of about 1000 from turning out at the Traralgon cenotaph.
A lone piper, standing high on the Traralgon Courthouse set the scene as people young and old stood silent.
Lachlan Wilson played The Last Post before Traralgon RSL president Ron Culliver delivered a stirring rendition of The Ode of Remembrance.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
“Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
“At the going down of the sun and in the morning
“We will remember them.”
Lest we forget.
The only sour note was the revelation by officials at the end of the service that the Traralgon RSL was burgled just hours before, an ordinary act on the eve of such an important day to this country.
A still calm morning with temperatures of nine degrees greeted the nearly 500 attendees at the Morwell RSL’s dawn service.
Vicki Burgess, one of the Morwell RSL volunteers, handed out poppies to many of the people waiting for the service to begin.

Proud: Private mark Micallef, SPR Liam Wright, Simone Geurts, Spr D. Vanderbrook, Catherine Lambert, Harry Lambart, Joe Lambert, SPR Alana Speir, LCPL Jame Kellerher. photograph jaci hicken

In his address, Morwell RSL president Major Wayne Hutchison (retired) reminded all those in attendance that they were there to “recall those that had served in the war”.
Listing all the fronts that Australia had served on Maj Hutchison remarked that “all that served have the grateful thanks of a nation”, 107 years since the landing on the benches of Gallipoli peninsula.
As the recitation to fallen servicemen and women was read, the sound of magpies rang out across the silent Morwell sky.
The Grieve family, Georgia, Ashlee and Jacqui came to pay their respects to past soldiers, laying a poppy at the cenotaph.
At the conclusion of the service, everyone was invited inside the Morwell RSL for a Gunfire breakfast, with around 250 people joining in the community get-together.
The Harris family had come along to pay their respect to the generations that have served.
George Harris, National Service and Army Reserve, his sons Brian Harris, Army Reserve, Peter Harris, Army Reserve and East Timor and grandson Tim Harris, regular Army serving in Afghanistan were all in attendance along with members of their families.
George remarked that his father, Richard Harris had also served in the Territorial forces in the British Army in World War II, making Tim the fourth generation who had joined the army and served his country.
Moe RSL conducted its dawn service, with around 80 people making their way to the cenotaph in Albert Street.
RSL president Steve Mayes led proceedings, while his predecessor, immediate past president Ian Caines laid a wreath to remember the fallen.
Local groups were represented, with SES, scouts and the Ladies Auxillary.
Mr Mayes said it great to be able to once again commemorate Anzac Day with everyone involved, after services in the last two years were heavily restricted and some sections, such as the post Dawn Service breakfast, closed to the public.
“It is fantastic, really good to have them back,” he said.
“With the easing of restrictions last week we had to rejig the whole thing, but it has gone well.”
As with any year, people young and old know the importance of Anzac Day, something Mr Mayes said was vital to see continue.
“I think it is great to see the kids here, Anzac spirit will never die as long as we have kids that are involved,” he said.
“It is 60 years since the first contingent of army advisors went into South Vietnam, over that 10 year period to 1972 there was 7672 personnel.”

Anzac spirit: Vietnam Third Battalion infantry soldier Malcolm Deveson, Three Training Group Packapunyal and Moe RSL president Steve Mayes and First Armoured Regiment and immediate past president of Moe RSL Ian Caines at this years Dawn Service. phgotograph liam durkin