Today is Anzac Day in Australia – ANZAC being short for Australia New Zealand Army Corps. Probably one of the most important days in Australia’s calendar. You can read more about it here.
For the first time Graham and I attended an Anzac Day Memorial Dawn Service. There were tens of thousands of people doing the same Australia wide. Actually probably more like over 100,000. They were predicting 40,000 for Melbourne itself but where we were in Emerald, only a short drive from our home, there were a couple of hundred there. Because it was before sunrise I was reluctant to take too many photos as I would have needed to use my flash and I didn’t want to spoil the quiet sombre moment. Even the children in attendance were very quiet. It was a very moving service with poems read out by school children, wreaths laid by people of many different ages and representing different groups and The Last Post played on a trumpet by a young man, with it echoed by another a bit further away. And to top it off the local steam train, known as the Puffing Billy was there to give the final toot after the dying strains of the piece was played. The moment was broken by a little child saying ‘that was loud’ and the crowd broke into giggles. It was a lovely experience for our very first Anzac Day Dawn Service.
The Puffing Billy trains have a shed next to the Emerald RSL so it was very fitting to have the train steamed up before the dawn service, ready to give its toot at the appropriate time. We then walked to a bakery for breakfast and around the block, in time to see the steam train getting ready to move down the line. By that time it was daylight although the sun still hadn’t broken over the hill.