Anzac Square fills for Brisbane dawn service

APRIL 25 2017 – 7:09AM

Bird calls and drum rolls. These are the sounds that welcomed Anzac Day to Brisbane.

Families, veterans and other locals gathered in a darkened Anzac Square to commemorate the occasion, with the solemn service beginning at 4.28am.

Thousands stood silently at the Shrine of Remembrance as the muffled sound of drummers moving up Adelaide Street mixed with waking wildlife.

Among them was Nate Fealy, of Albany Creek, who spent 15 years in the military including stints in Afghanistan, Timor and Papua New Guinea before departing as a corporal in 2009.

The stoic 39-year-old said attending the dawn service wasn’t immediately emotional – but it was a way to reconnect with past comrades.

“It comes later on during the day sometimes,” he said, medals displayed proudly on his chest.

“Today is just all about being here for the rest of your mates.”

Children were hoisted onto parents’ shoulders as the ceremony, also attended by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, got under way.

“This occasion engenders huge emotional effect nationally and individually – and rightly so,” Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey told the packed square.

Schoolgirls in the crowd rubbed their eyes as he recounted how the war’s initial recruits hoped for adventure and the glory of battle.

“(Eventually) the war’s grim reality was plain for everyone to see,” he told the large crowd.

As is tradition, the service concluded with the playing of the last post bugle call and the intonation: “Lest we forget”.

Mercifully, the birds waited their turn this time.

Meanwhile, the centenary of the successful charge by Australian cavalry in the World War One Battle of Beersheba has been honoured at dawn service on the Gold Coast.

A company of 12 light horseman led veterans into the service at Currumbin’s Elephant Rock on the city’s southern coast.

An estimated crowd of 15,000, including former prime minister Tony Abbott, gathered in the shadow of the rock, which was lit red for the service.

The service, one of the biggest regional services in Queensland, began with a didgeridoo being played on the base of the rock.

A lone piper then took over from the top of the rock where Australian and New Zealand flags flew at half mast.

The service has also honoured the 75th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign in Papua New Guinea and the bombing of Darwin.

The service will conclude with the annual burial at sea where the ashes of 34 servicemen and their family members will be scattered on the waves by local rowers from the Currumbin Vikings surf lifesaving club.

AAP

 

Source : Brisbane Times