An overcast, warm morning saw well over 300 people attending the ANZAC Day march and 11am Commemoration service last Sunday. The turnout was described by many as the largest seen in years.
“The Mack boys”, Neil, Andrew and Don, led the parade, providing a stirring lead for the marchers, whose numbers were boosted by a very large contingent of more than fifty students from Bingara Central School.
A number of ex-servicemen and women rode in golf buggies with World War II veteran, Ted Baldock at 94 years of age, being the oldest. Sam Kennedy played the Last Post and Reveille which was much appreciated by those present.
Four World War II servicemen and woman, Ted Baldock, Helen Jack, Lach Groth and Morrie White were welcomed by Sub-branch President, David Young to the luncheon, hosted by the Returned Services Club. The luncheon was attended by 120 people , with numbers being swelled by a lot of visitors from out of town, including relations of Mr Baldock.
Bingara Central School Principal, Mark Vale, who was the guest speaker at the lunch, talked about the important role Bingara’s school children are taking in participating in the ANZAC ceremonies.
Visiting ex-serviceman, Mr Morrie Smith from Mudgee made a presentation of a plaque from the Mudgee RSL Sub-branch to the Bin-gara Sub-branch.
The traditional game of two-up commenced at 3pm with David Young having the first toss.
A group of ex-servicemen from Nowra, who were camping on the Gwydir up river from town, also attended the march, service and lunch. They told Mr Young that they enjoyed attending the smaller towns’ ANZAC services each year as they were often “more authentic”.
Bingara Central School had its ANZAC Commemoration Service last Friday in the school grounds.
Mr John Ward, who has recently moved with his family to Bingara having served in the Royal Australian Army Transport Corps, gave the Commemorative Address.
He told the assembly that ANZAC Day is a very special day, as that battle on the beaches of Gallipoli is regarded as heralding the birth of Australia as a nation.
Mr Ward said that Australian soldiers, since Gallipoli, have served in World War II, Vietnam, Korea, and Afghanistan, as well as the Solomon Islands, East Timor, a number of African nations and Israel where they are working for the United Nations.
Respect, loyalty, courage, honour and mateship are important qualities of the Defence Forces which have stood Australian servicemen in good stead around the world. They are indeed, making the world a better place, Mr Ward said. Mr Ward is currently a member of the Active Reserves, parading at 12/16 Hunter River Lancers, Tamworth.
After the ceremony, Mr Ward explained that in Afghanistan, Australian troops are involved with the construction of schools and shops, as well as training their workforce in skills such as carpentry. “The Australian soldier is very well respected around the world, being seen as coming from a peace keeping nation. The Akubra that our soldiers wear is recognised worldwide,” he said.
Students played a major role in the Bingara Central School ANZAC Commemoration Service held last Friday in the school grounds.
Kristen Heal and Jade Dixon displayed a poster distributed by the Federal Government to celebrate the 95th Anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli which shows a photo of the actual landing on the beach before calling on Mr John Ward to give the Commemorative Address. Students, Jake Bilsborough and Ashley Rafter read their essays about ANZAC Day before the prayer of commemoration delivered by Rev Brian Darbyshire.
Members of the Junior SRC, Madeline Coombes, Charlotte Odell, Harrison McDouall, Brady Cooper and Gabby O’Connor laid the wreath before the Last Post and Reveille were played.
What ANZAC means to me
Jake Bilsborough said “ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
ANZAC Day was officially named on April 25, 1916. It was a day to remember the first military action that Australian and New Zealand troops took in the first World War, on April 25, 1915. The fighting happened on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey, against the Turks. Sadly, with heavy casualties, the ANZACs lost the battle for the Gallipoli Peninsula. Over 8,000 Australians were killed and April 25 became the day on which we remember those who died.
ANZAC Day is special to me because by marching, it gives me a chance to pay my repects for those who died. I am thankful that those troops who fought for our country and our freedom. ANZAC Day serves to remind us of the suffering and pain of war and to help us be grateful that we don’t live in a world at war.
Although the Gallipoli campaign failed, it still left us with an all powerful legacy. Although the soldiers from Gallipoli may have passed away, we still have the legend of the ANZACs, an important part of the identity for both Australia and New Zealand.
When we think of the ANZACs, we think of strength, courage, mateship and heroes. Our pride in the ANZACs and their courage on the beaches of Gallipoli, is something we carry with us always and so we honour them on ANZAC Day.”
Why we celebrate ANZAC Day (according to Ashley Rafter)
The soldiers gave their lives willingly for the freedom of our country, giving us our own rights but most importantly to do what you believe.
Today, just imagine what it could be like? Our country could and would be different. Heroes, blood, damage and death made Australia the way it appears to ber now. A lot of sacrifice had to be made.
Many soldiers back then watned to represent Australia so badly, they lied about their age and for those that didn’t, begged. Hitting a certain age, they were sent to war for Australia, having no choice, no say, nothing, although now our days, they could have had the decision,an option.
As some knew it was a matter of life and death, they still fought as crazily as they felt about their home. Some of them would come to an end in life. They sacrificed their lives to make Australia the way it is today. A free place that is not a homeland to war. It is a place of having the feeling of safety, peace and belief.
When I was younger, ANZAC Day wasn’t something that I thought of, but having been given this task to write made me think and realise how lucky we are to have Australia as our home. Such a place where war is unlikely to happen anytime soon. We should celebrate ANZAC Day and show our appreciation.
Lest we forget!