News National Marching to honour the spirit of Anzac

Marching to honour the spirit of Anzac

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Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered around the nation to remember Australia’s war dead on the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.

Dawn services across the country heard stories of heroism, bravery, mateship and sacrifice, with a record turn-out of 120,000 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Huge crowd gathers in Melbourne.
Huge crowd gathers in Melbourne.

In Turkey, thousands more have gathered at Gallipoli, where the Anzacs splashed ashore in the face of murderous Turkish fire on April 25, 1915.

The faces of Gallipoli
Timeline: Australia’s WWI story
Thousands gather at Gallipoli

In Canberra, seating was full at the parade ground by 5am, with tens of thousands of people packing in to view the solemn service.

An Indigenous sailor broke the silence and began the service playing the didgeridoo in commemoration of the Anzac sacrifice.

The sound of Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Alan Paterson’s didgeridoo split the dawn and echoed across the parade ground on a mild Canberra morning.

More than 80,000 people turned out for the Anzac Day dawn service at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.

Rugged up and huddled under umbrellas, the crowd gathered in the shrine’s forecourt while others watched from windows and balconies of surrounding buildings.

The sunrise service at Currumbin
The sunrise service at Currumbin

Those who wanted to ensure a good vantage point arrived early.

Some, like Craig King and his son Ryan, camped out from 1am to be part of the dawn service, their third.

“I think it’s so important that we show our respect,” Ryan said.

As the service got underway the crowd fell still and silent, speaking only to utter the familiar line “we will remember them” after a verse from For the Fallen was read by RSL state president Major General David McLachlan.

Loud cheers greeted marchers at the Anzac Parade in Sydney’s CBD, where thousands lined the streets to commemorate the nation’s veterans.

Roads around the CBD were closed as thousands watched the parade amid the strains of bagpipe music, horns and the flash of bright military banners.

The cheers of the crowds who lined the barriers along Sydney’s George street were loud enough to be heard over the roar of airforce jets doing a flyby over the city.

Oatley RSL Youth leader Robyn Ellis came to the parade with a group of 20 teenagers to march in the parade.

She believes more young people are participating in the Anzac tradition.

“With all that’s been seen on TV, and it being a special celebration … our dawn service in Oatley was the biggest we’ve ever seen,” she said.

Standing slightly apart from the crowds on George St, Ian Staas solemnly held a large framed picture of his then-22-year-old father HB Staas.

HB Staas survived his tour of the Middle East in WWII, and until recently Ian’s older brother brought the picture and medals to every Anzac Day commemoration.

“My brother was much older than me,” Ian said.

“He’s passed away so I’ve taken on the mantle.”

Tamia Inukihaangana, 11, said she was marching for her great-grandfather and others who died in wars.

“It means a lot to me,” she said, holding a portrait of her great-grandfather.

“They fought for our country.”

Sam Massey, 22, said Australians were free because of people like his great-grandfather, who was a light horseman in Gallipoli.

“It’s essentially being able to live the lives that we want based on their groundwork,” he said.

“Those ideals, mateship and sacrifice, we need to emulate and use as an example for everyone.”

Veterans Father Hannington Dadabinyaba and Dennis Irua of the PNG Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels in Sydney.

Holding back tears, Steve Inwood marched down George Street in remembrance of his grandfather, also named Steve, who fought at Gallipoli and the Western Front.

“I’ve had tears in my eyes all morning, trying to hold them back,” he said.

“It’s amazing, seeing everyone here.”

Some were too emotional to talk while a group yelled out: “Well done, guys”.

Following the parade a commemoration service was held at the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park, adjacent to the Pool of Reflection.

9th Battalion led the charge for the Anzac Day parade through the heart of Brisbane.

Past and present servicemen and women, a marching band and even a few camels hit the streets as part of the city’s annual Anzac Day parade.

They were cheered and applauded by an estimated 60,000 people who lined the city streets.

Veteran John Dundas said it was great to see such a large turnout for the Anzac centenary.

Crowds cheer and wave along George St, Sydney

Great, fantastic definitely a lot more people at the dawn service, I haven’t been up this way but yeah it’s great a huge turnout,” he said.

Another veteran, Stan Conlon, said he attended the parade every year and was surprised by today’s turnout.