Good turnouts for services
As the sun rose to the east of the Karratha Country Club on Anzac Day and the North West Shelf flame burned as bright as a second sunrise behind the crowd, something completely unexpected appeared in the west.
A full rainbow, framing a 2000-strong crowd, burst to life as everyone stood in silence for The Last Post.
Schoolchildren, emergency services, clubs and companies all lined up to lay wreaths as a lone bagpiper played on the hill above.
A haka and march followed, with many of the crowd staying behind to give a rousing ovation to those who have either served our two countries or were close to someone who did.
The rainbow wasn’t the only rare sight in Karratha.
A traffic jam stretching back to Pelago made for a rare sight on the bottom road.
In the historic town of Roebourne, 300 people gathered on the main street to see resident Terry Thompson receive a framed record of service of a cousin, Ronald Harris, who was killed in the Vietnam War. It was a fitting tribute for a town steeped in indigenous and military history.
Mr Thompson said he was proud to receive the tribute to his family member.
“Ronny was my mentor, protector and big brother. He was taken too soon,” he said.
“I’ll put (the record) on the wall and I’ll pass it on to my children, so they’ll know why I’m so proud of Uncle Ronny.”
Pilbara Regiment major and ceremony MC Brett Warner called for greater acknowledgement of the service of Aboriginal Australians in past wars.
In Port Hedland, hundreds gathered in community spirit at the Hedland War Memorial opposite the Esplanade Hotel to watch the dawn service and Anzac march.
The service was follow by an introduction by RSL president Val Middleton. “On this day we recall those who, in the great tragedy of war, gave their lives for Australia and for the freedom of mankind, and those who sleep in unknown resting places in many lands and in every sea.”
RSL members, defence forces, cadet units, members of Parliament, police, emergency services, mining companies, services, and business clubs all took part in the laying of wreaths.
Past and present members of the armed forces and their descendants proudly participated in the Anzac Day marches and gunfire breakfasts in Shire of Ashburton towns.
Shire president Kerry White said it was touching to see the Anzac spirit and sense of national pride was as strong as ever.
“It is fantastic to see our community come together to commemorate and pay respects to both those who have passed and are still active service members,” she said. About 1000 people attended two Anzac Day commemorative services in Exmouth, including 750 at the dawn service.
Shire of Exmouth Commissioner Ian Fletcher welcomed those who gathered to remember the courageous men and women who fought.
“Exmouth was built around the US Naval Communications Station Harold E Holt, but the North West Cape’s role in military operations began long before,” he said. “During World War II, the Exmouth Gulf provided harbour for US ships and submarines as part of Operation Potshot.
“In 1943, construction started at Learmonth airstrip and the heroic men of Z Force left the Exmouth Gulf aboard the Krait on Operation Jaywick.”
Mr Fletcher said gratitude and respect for those operations was etched in street names, memorial sites and commemorations in Exmouth.
A rainbow forms over the dawn service at the Karratha Country Club. A member of the catafalque party.
Dawn service at the Karratha Country Club. Pictures: Tom Zaunmayr, LE’s Photography and Alicia Perera
The Pilbara Regiment and Roebourne police.
Captain Michael Sander, Merv Stanton and Mayor Camilo Blanco.
The Anzac Day march in Tom Price.
Tribute is paid at the war memorial.
Karratha cadets lay a wreath.
Pilbara Regiment personnel.
Terry Thompson displays the tribute to his late relative, former serviceman Ronald Harris, with Major Brett Warner
The Tom Price march.