STRAPPING servicemen from the Latchford Barracks will return to Walhalla to participate in the town’s Anzac Day dawn service.
Officers, non-commissioned officers and army apprentices, who helped restore the heritage-listed Mechanical Institute in March, are making the five-hour journey from Albury/Wodonga to take part in the centenary commemorations.
Restorations included a new deck at the rear of the building and a picket fence along the creek.
“We loved having them here and wanted to get them back for the Anzac service,” Walhalla Anzac Day coordinator Barrie Seear said.
Mr Seear said he expected the 15-person town to burgeon into hundreds for the 6am service, with the army apprentices marching down the main street to the town cenotaph, music from local bagpiper Richard Henry and ceremonial canon fires and rifle shots.
“The canon was built by Walhalla’s blacksmith at the start of 20th century for special occasions in Walhalla,” Mr Seear said.
“It’ll scare the lyrebirds for about 300 miles.”
Warrant officer class-one Brendan Johnson, who managed the restoration and was among the original class of men that rebuilt the Institute between 1985 and 1988 after it burnt down, said about 25 army apprentices would be involved in the ceremony.
Mr Johnson said the apprentices involved in the March restoration were in Sydney completing trade construction work, but a fresh group of tradesmen trainees would visit the town.
“A lot of the soldiers have never done something like this for a community before,” Mr Johnson said.
“It’s a day away from the day-to-day grind of the army and something for the community.
“Walhalla is a unique place and it will be an eye-opener for these young people.”
A plaque honouring 10 Walhalla soldiers who lost their lives in World War I will also be unveiled at the cenotaph.
The servicemen will do another march through the town at 10am.