MASSIVE crowds have gathered around the district to pay their dawn tributes to Australia’s Anzacs.
At the Pakenham service, Major Guy Warnock addressed a crowd of around 4000 – the largest in recent history. He sought to correct some of the misconceptions that the Gallipoli operation was ill-conceived and poorly planned, before Pakenham resident Nathan Hughes read a poem that he had composed. Bass MP Brian Painter traced the journey of his grandmother’s brother Martin Augustus Barry, who served in the seventh battalion in Gallipoli and beyond.
More than a thousand were present at the Nar Nar Goon dawn service, where crowds heard about the experiences of Major Paul Older, a medic in Vietnam. Major Older gave insight into the conflict from a little-known point of view, telling those gathered that a lack of antibiotics during WWI had serious effects on the health of soldiers. Students representing local schools read poetry before the community was invited to lay wreaths.
Emerald’s Anzac Place was packed with a sea of people well before the town’s dawn service began. Thousands converged on the RSL for an emotion-charged service beginning with a sound and light show that took the crowd back to the explosions and gunfire of Gallipoli in 1915.
“Those sounds were the baptism of fire for not only the young Anzacs, but also the young Turkish defenders – it was their first experience of war, and for so many it was their last,” said Emerald RSL president, and Vietnam veteran, Peter Maloney.
“Sadly, for the Anzacs, those sounds were ingrained in their memories forever.
“Anzac Day is about remembering all the fallen – on both sides – and also to pay our respects to those who returned and lived with the memories.”
Huge crowds also attended services throughout the City of Casey, with Narre Warren’s council chambers the setting for another moving ceremony.
Full coverage of Anzac dawn and morning services throughout the district will be available in next week’s Pakenham Gazette.
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