Wagga set to continue Anzac Day traditions with Dawn Service

LEST WE FORGET: Wagga will hold its annual ANZAC Day march and service at Victory Memorial Gardens.
LEST WE FORGET: Wagga will hold its annual ANZAC Day march and service at Victory Memorial Gardens.

The Riverina is set to commemorate the final stage of The Centenary of Anzac which marks 100 years since Australia’s involvement in the First World War.

Wagga’s Sub-branch honorary secretary, Ken May, said it was important to continue honouring Anzac Day to remember the sacrifices that were made. 

 “We have to remember what ex-servicemen have done,” he said.

“That’s part of the Australian psyche, to look after your mates.” 

Mr May said that he considered 2015 to be particularly significant due it being the centenary of Anzac Day itself, he sees every other year to be equally important and the figures speak for themselves.

“In 2015 we had about 15,000 people lining the streets,” he said.

“In 2016 and 2017 it may have been a bit less but there were still a large number of attendees.” 

A women’s veterans group is running an initiative named By the Left, Mr May said.

“This will help people recognise that women are allowed to wear their medals on the left hand side,” he said.

“A lot of females have trouble after the march where people will say you didn’t serve take your father’s medals off the left.

“If they have served in places such as Afghanistan, however, they are quite within their right to wear them if they served.” 

Over 250 ex-RAAF apprentices from various intakes, between the 1940’s and 1990’s, will also be marching together this year.

The Rock RSL Sub-branch’s honorary secretary, Mick Flinn, said celebrating Anzac Day continues to be important.

“These guys gave their lives at the time thinking we were under attack, which we were,” he said. 

“It is important to remember as being a serviceman myself I lost five good friends in the Vietnam War. 

“You never forget, our servicemen have helped make this country.” 

Mr Flinn encouraged community residents to get to what events they could to demonstrate their support.

Wagga’s commemorations of the sacrifices made by Australian soldiers begin at 5.30am on April 25 with the Dawn Service.

This will be followed by a pilgrimage to the War Cemetery, Kooringal Road. 

Other events include: 

7am: Breakfast at Wagga RSL Club

10.30am: ANZAC Day March starting at the corner of Baylis and Morgan streets, marching to the Cenotaph, Victory Memorial Gardens, corner Baylis and Morrow streets

11.15am: Commemorative Service

12.30pm: ANZAC Day Lunch at Wagga RSL Club

5.30pm: Sunset Service at Wagga RSL Club

Riverina MP Michael McCormack, this month, said he hoped to commemorate Anzac Day in Junee.

“I’m going to attend the Australian War Memorial dawn service in Canberra and then I need to do a service around 11am,” Mr McCormack said. “But then my intention is to travel to Junee.”

Later that day, Mr McCormack is set to attend the dusk service in Wagga.