Taree Anzac dawn service

NATURE provided a fitting backdrop, with flickering lightning and rolling  thunder reminiscent of distant gunfire, as several hundred people gathered today at Taree’s memorial clock for the Anzac dawn service.

“At this hour, upon this day, ANZAC received its baptism of fire and became one of the immortal names in history,” said Taree RSL Sub-branch secretary Dennis Lawrence, beginning the solemn service with the dedication.

“As the dawn is ever now about to pierce the night, so let their memory inspire us to work for the coming of the new light into the dark places of the world. We will remember them.”

RSL Sub Branch Chaplain Fr Keith Dean-Jones  gave the address, reminding the gathering that this year is a particularly significant one, in that World War 1 began 100 years ago, on July 28, 1914.

He said Anzac Day is a time for the community to express both grief and gratitude for those who have served.

He said it is a time to remember those Australians lost in war – some 60,000 in World War I, nearly 40,000 in World War II, as well as those casualties from conflicts including Korea, Malay, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Fr Dean-Jones recalled the ill-fated assault by the allies against the Turks at Gallipoli, where 8141 Australians lost their lives.

He read the touching tribute to the ANZACs by Ataturk (Mustafa Kemal, who led the Turkish forces at Gallipoli), which concludes with the words “after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

Taree RSL Sub Branch president Bob Coombes invited the community to lay wreaths.

First to step up to the memorial was Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie,  then Inspector Christine George from Manning Great Lakes Police, followed by representatives of the RAAF Williamtown, Taree Air League, D Company 41 Brigade, Club Taree Community Band, Southern Cross Cruiser Club, RAAF Association, Mayo Home Nursing, and members of the public.

The service concluded before the looming  storm finally made it to the riverbank.

The scene at Taree's Anzac Dawn service today.

The scene at Taree's Anzac Dawn service today.