Si­lence then cel­e­bra­tion to mark ar­mistice cen­te­nary

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

Ruther­glen will hold three events to mark 100 years since the sign­ing of the Ar­mistice that ended World War One on Sun­day.

When news of a last­ing peace ar­rived on the evening of Novem­ber 11, 1918, crowds spon­ta­neously gath­ered in the streets of Mel­bourne. Through the night peo­ple cheered, danced, drank and cel­e­brated. The weight of four years of con­flict was fi­nally lifted from their lives.

In the midst of joy there was also grief. Fam­i­lies wept for their losses and feared for the lives of loved ones for whom was still a trench or dugout on the other side of the world.

As news of the events in Europe trick­led through by tele­graph and train, the scenes on Mel­bourne streets re­played in coun­try towns across the state. Ruther­glen was no dif­fer­ent.

In 1914, Ruther­glen Shire was home to just over 1,000 men of ‘fight­ing age’. Over the course of the war 620 en­listed and one in five of these men died in the con­flict.

This year’s spe­cial Re­mem­brance Day pro­gram hopes to cap­ture some of the bit­ter­sweet emo­tion of a cen­tury ago.

At 11am Ruther­glen RSL Sub-Branch will hold a tra­di­tional Re­mem­brance Day com­mem­o­ra­tion ser­vice at the ceno­taph in Ruther­glen Memo­rial Park. The ser­vice will in­clude a wreath lay­ing cer­e­mony and ob­ser­vance of a minute’s si­lence.

At 2pm, a gran­ite memo­rial cross com­mis­sioned by the Ruther­glen RSL Sub-Branch will be un­veiled in Car­lyle Ceme­tery. The cross is a sym­bolic rest­ing place for all ser­vice per­son­nel from the dis­trict ir­re­spec­tive of their ac­tual place of burial.

Fol­low­ing the un­veil­ing, Indigo Shire Mayor, Cr Bernard Gaffney, will plant a Gal­lipoli pine tree next to the cross.

From 6pm to 9pm there will be a com­mu­nity street party in Li­ons Park, Dou­glas Street Ruther­glen.

Ev­ery­one is in­vited to take part in this cel­e­bra­tion of peace.

Fam­i­lies are en­cour­aged to bring ta­bles, chairs and pic­nic din­ner and en­joy the at­mos­phere of the event. Ruther­glen RSL, Li­ons and Ro­tary will be run­ning a BBQ sausage siz­zle.

The pro­gram of mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment for the evening has a post war theme and will in­clude a per­for­mance by the Mur­ray Brass Band.

Stu­dents from Ruther­glen’s three schools and kinder­garten will con­duct a spe­cial ser­vice in mem­ory of the 115 lo­cal men killed in the war.

The Li­ons Park al­co­hol free zone has been tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended by Indigo Shire from 6pm to 9pm to en­able the com­mu­nity to BYO re­fresh­ments.

Craig Wil­liams is the se­nior vice pres­i­dent of the RSL Sub-Branch and has been a mem­ber of the street party or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee since its in­cep­tion. As a for­mer Aus­tralian army sol­dier who served in East Ti­mor, he has first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence of the emo­tional bur­den an overseas de­ploy­ment can place on friends and loved ones at home.

Mr Wil­liams hopes Sun­day’s party will recre­ate some of the emo­tion that spilled onto the streets of Ruther­glen a cen­tury ago.

“We wanted to get ev­ery­one in­volved and recre­ate the spirit of that night. Hav­ing so many com­mu­nity groups in­volved and all of the schools, we think we will get a re­ally good turnout,” he said.

“We wanted ev­ery­one to think about what it was like, re­mem­ber those who served and how the war af­fected ev­ery­one in the town.”

Ruther­glen RSL Sub-Branch will hold a Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice in the Ruther­glen Memo­rial Park.

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