Anzac Day commemoration services were back in full force in the Wee Waa district on Monday, with dawn and day services held at the town’s war memorial clock tower as well as in the surrounding villages of Burren Junction, Gwabegar, Pilliga and Rowena.
For the past two years, COVID-19 restrictions have impacted traditional events in some way. This year, schools, community groups and residents were able to march and gather to pay tribute to servicemen and women.
Anzac Day, April 25, is regarded as one of Australia’s most important national occasions, marking the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
In recent years, it’s become a time to remember all theatres of war and the Australians who have served and tragically fallen.
“Both services were great, there was a good turn up for the dawn service, I think over 200 people,” said ex-serviceman Dennis Lowder who coordinated the services in Wee Waa.
“Today there was a good crowd and the whole service went well.”
The four Wee Waa schools participated in the 11am service. Similarly, students were involved in all the village services and more photos will be featured in a future edition.
“I was impressed with the school students and in particular Acacia’s speech (WWHS captain) on the Battle of the Somme – it was very good,” said Mr Lowder.
“They all spoke really well and the address by Minister Stephen Bignall at the dawn service was great and Minister Neil Hunt’s address was also well received.”
The crowd was visibly delighted to see the Wee Waa Community Band back together, and Mr Lowder made special mention of bugler Peter Carrett because he has played the Last Post at Wee Waa’s service for 39 years.
The invaluable contribution of Mr Carrett, working alongside Mr Lowder, community organisations and volunteers, is what ensures Anzac Day services engage younger generations and appropriately honour those who made, and are making, sacrifices to protect Australia and its way of life.
During the service, Mr Lowder also acknowledged Frank Hadley, who was in the American Navy at the end of World War II and Wee Waa’s only surviving Australian veteran from World War II John Collett. In response, the crowd gave a big round of applause.
“I’d like to think that it means they appreciate what’s been done,” said Mr Lowder.
“A lot of the younger generation really don’t understand, and that’s a good thing, but I think a day like today and getting the kids involved helps to keep that memory alive of what people have done in the past, to try and keep that going, I don’t think it will ever die.”
A wreath laying ceremony followed the service with Narrabri Shire councillor John Clements, volunteer and community organisations, and individuals placing beautiful floral arrangements and tributes at the base of the war memorial clock tower.To order photos from this page click here