Dawning of a new era
FIRST ANZAC DAY DAWN SERVICE AT MEMORIAL
WANNEROO RSL will host its first Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Wanneroo War Memorial next week.
President Jack Le Cras said the subbranch used to hold a dawn service at the Joondalup War Memorial when it was called Wanneroo/Joondalup RSL.
However in 2016, both it and Ocean Reef RSL realigned their names to represent local council areas, becoming Wanneroo RSL and Joondalup City RSL respectively.
“Wanneroo RSL still wished to be involved in a dawn service,” Mr Le Cras said.
“After discussions with the City of Wanneroo, where it was stated there had not been a dawn service at the existing memorial, arrangements were made for a 2017 inaugural dawn service, followed by a short march with a closing ceremony.”
Mr Le Cras said the service, which includes a RAAF fly-past, would start at 6am on April 25 and finish by 8.30am, allowing veterans to also attend the Perth City March. Reverend John Miles will be the official chaplain at the service and guest speakers are Brigadier Phil White and Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts.
“At 0700, there will be a march led by the Challenge Brass Band through Sinagra Street into Civic Parade where the salute will be taken by Brigadier White and the mayor,” Mr Le Cras said. “The parade will reassemble in Memorial Park carpark for a closing address by Mrs Roberts.”
Wanneroo Lions will serve a gunfire breakfast from 6.30am for gold coins.
Veterans wearing medals and ACROD permit holders can park in the memorial carpark from 5am, with public parking at the Wanneroo Central carpark.
Mr Le Cras said Wanneroo Scouts would mount an overnight vigil at the Memorial from 6pm on April 24.
LIKE many former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, Brad Kay has found it difficult adjusting to life after service.
The Heathridge resident spent 22 years in the Air Force, having joined in 1988 as a 19-year-old, and became a flight sergeant and communications technician.
“I joined to get a trade; the Air Force seemed to offer what I was after,” he said.
“I kept going until I wasn’t enjoying it anymore.”
That time came after being sent to Afghanistan in 2009, which Mr Kay said resulted in a “few odd moments” and being “rocketed daily”.
He left the ADF in 2010, keen to spend more time with his wife and young children. Mr Kay admitted to struggling since then and missed the comradeship.
He had joined a New South Wales Returned and Services League (RSL) club while still serving and afterwards became a member of Joondalup City RSL Subbranch.
“You can talk to likeminded people that have had similar experiences,” he said.
“They offer support and allow people to meet up; sometimes you don’t know what support to ask for.”
A source of support for Mr Kay is the Military Art Program, a not-for-profit organisation offering free art classes for current and former ADF members.
“I’ve always been doodling and drawing and stuff like that,” he said. “I find the artwork calming.
“The classes allow people to chat and get advice on where to go (for help).
“It settles me and calms me and lets me focus a little bit. I’m able to be by myself and draw or paint or whatever I feel like.”
The RSL holds monthly meetings for members and though Mr Kay said many did not want to talk about their experiences, they were always there to help each other when needed.
He hoped to encourage younger people to join, whom he said could provide input into how it was run and make it relevant to them.
“If you can get younger or recent vets into the RSL, they can help with the direction of where the RSL can go,” he said.
“A lot of people think it’s an old boys’ club… (but) a lot more younger guys are starting to come in.”
For Mr Kay, Anzac Day will start at Ocean Reef War Memorial for the dawn service followed by helping to cook breakfast for attendees.
Wanneroo RSL president Jack Le Cras.
Brad Kay with a portrait of his great grandfather Kenneth Kay.