Anzac Day is chance to catch up

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Dane Lilling­stone dane.lilling­stone@ whit­sun­day­times.com.au

FOR Rod Davies, Anzac Day is about re­mem­ber­ing your friends.

“It’s one of the those days to re­mem­ber your mates and what peo­ple did for us go­ing back over 100 years,” the Air­lie Beach/Whit­sun­day RSL Club sec­re­tary said.

“It’s about re­mem­brance for me and a good way to catch up, to sit down and tell some good sto­ries and see some peo­ple you haven’t seen in years.”

For­mer Air­lie Beach/Whit­sun­day RSL Club vice pres­i­dent Bill Rose said the dev­as­ta­tion wrought by Cy­clone Deb­bie had sparked thoughts of the Great War.

“I went to look at the Can­non­vale Ceno­taph af­ter the cy­clone. It had ab­so­lutely no dam­age but the dam­age around it re­minded me of the West­ern Front,” he said.

“I looked into the gully there and I thought ‘oh my god’ it’s like my great un­cle’s photos, just like the West­ern Front.

“There were trees and leaves on the ground. It’s nice and clean now though, they’ve done a good job.”

Air­lie Beach and Can­non­vale will host a num­ber of ser­vices on Anzac Day in­clud­ing the main street march.

Ser­vices in the re­gion will be­gin at 5.30am with the dawn ser­vice. That will be fol­lowed by a break­fast, raf­fles and two-up at the Reef Gate­way Ho­tel and the Anzac march down the main street of Air­lie Beach.

“We’re sched­uled to have Ja­son Costi­gan, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil, clas­sic car hot rods, which some of the vets can sit in, con­tin­gents from Cairns and Townsville, Lions, Ro­tary, VMR and the lo­cal schools will all be part of the march,” Mr Davies said.

“I’ve got to say, it’s nice to see the kids down there. On a pub­lic hol­i­day they’re in their school uni­form and they al­ways come and say hello and talk to the vets.

“Af­ter the dawn ser­vice we’ll have a gun­fire break­fast at the Reef Gate­way with rum, cof­fee and sausages, which is a tra­di­tion that goes back a long way. Then af­ter the main ser­vice we’ll head back there and start sell­ing raf­fle tick­ets with more than 20 prizes up for grabs in­clud­ing bot­tles of scotch and rum.

Then to fin­ish off we’ll have two-up.

“It’s a way to catch up with some nib­blies and have a chin wag along the way.”

In the lead-up to Anzac Day a mem­o­ra­bilia badge sale is be­ing held daily in front of Coles at the Whit­sun­day Shop­ping Cen­tre and at the Whit­sun­day Plaza un­til around 4pm each day.

Mr Rose said that rain, hail or shine, we would re­mem­ber them.

“No mat­ter what, the Anzac spirit still lives,” he said.

This year marks 102 years since Aus­tralian and New Zealand troops set foot on the beaches of Gal­lipoli.

PHOTO: SHARON SMALL­WOOD

STAND­ING GUARD: The ceno­taph will be the fo­cus of Anzac Day ac­tiv­i­ties in Air­lie Beach on Tues­day.

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