By Colin MacGillivray
RSL sub-branches across the north central region are preparing for the return of Anzac Day ceremonies in Victoria on Sunday.
Last year’s Anzac Day remembrance services and marches were called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and RSL Victoria vice-president and Broadford resident Des Callaghan said veterans across the state would celebrate their return.
The traditional dawn service at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance will go ahead with a limited number of attendees, with a march through the city limited to 5500 people.
The State Government and RSL leaders have urged people to attend local services or watch the Melbourne service online via a live stream at www.shrine.org.au/anzac-day-2021.
Mr Callaghan said it would be good to simply be able to host Anzac Day events this year.
“I think tickets for the dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance went within a few minutes,” he said.
“ANZAC House is talking with the State Government at the moment for a decision on whether we can have more people, because the COVID situation seems to have settled down recently.
“It is great just to be able to have services this year, and at the end of the day you’ve got to take some responsibility with COVID. We don’t want to break the law and we’ll adhere to the government’s COVID regulations.”
Mr Callaghan also encouraged people to continue the Light up the Dawn campaign that began last year as a way of marking Anzac Day in a COVID-safe manner.
People shone a light from their doorways or at the end of their driveways at dawn to honour the legacy of fallen soldiers.
“I think Light up the Dawn is going to kick on, because that was fairly popular,” he said.
“I did it last year and it was amazing how many other people in my street did it.
“I think now that it’s happened it’ll happen again. It seems to have kicked off and it’s a tradition that’s worth continuing.”
Anzac Day services across the region this year are:
Doreen: 5.55am dawn service at Doreen Cenotaph, corner of Painted Hills Road and Armidale Road, followed by sausage sizzle at Laurimar Football Club. Contact Wesley Wridgway on 0408 397 502 or Sarah Evers on 0487 384 963.
Kilmore: 6am dawn service at Hudson Park, Sydney Street, with barbecue provided by Scouts. March steps off at 10.45am next to Old Town Hall, with refreshments for a gold coin donation. Contact Peter Cracker on 0473 188 835.
Pyalong: 11am community commemoration at Pyalong Memorial Gardens, High Street. There will be a catafalque party from the Army School of Transport at Puckapunyal, along with a piper, and a choir from Pyalong Primary School. The ceremony will commence with a march along High Street. Veterans, children and others wishing to take part are asked to assemble at the Pyalong General Store at 10.45 am. Participants will each be provided with a name badge, honouring a serviceman or woman from the district. Enquiries to coordinator Belinda, Tuesday to Thursday, 9am to 4.30pm, on 5785 1462.
Romsey-Lancefield: 7.30am wreath-laying service at Romsey, 8.30am service at Lancefield.
Seymour: 5.45am march from Seymour RSL at 2 Station Street to Bretonneux Street for 5.50am dawn service, with breakfast available at Seymour RSL. A second march will step off at 9.45am from the Seymour Timber and Hardware car park at 9.45am for a 10am service at the Anzac Avenue cenotaph. Contact Andrew Cox on 0435 107 599.
Wallan: 6am dawn service at Hadfield Park, with barbecue provided by local Scouts. March steps off at 8.30am on Queen Street, with refreshments available at Hadfield Park for a gold coin donation. Contact Peter Cracker on 0473 188 835.
Wandong: Wandong History Group will be host a service at Wandong Heathcote Junction Memorial Park at noon on Anzac Day followed by a sausage sizzle. It is a COVID-safe event and intending participants are asked to pre-register by emailing email@example.com, phoning or texting their name and phone number to 0432 120 736.
Whittlesea: 6.30am memorial service on Church Street. Contact Denys Potts on 0421 431 528.