The sun rises on Mara­noa’s com­mem­o­ra­tions

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - Alexia Austin [email protected]­ern­

A THRONG filled the street at Roma’s ceno­taph Thurs­day morn­ing, gath­er­ing in the dark­ness to pay their re­spects to Aus­tralia’s fallen.

The 4.15am start added to the solem­nity – cor­re­spond­ing to the tim­ing of the first Gal­lipoli land­ing on April 25, 1915.

More than 500 peo­ple at­tended the ser­vice, with guests in­vited to a pre-dawn break­fast at the close of the cer­e­mony.

A num­ber of res­i­dents con­tin­ued on to the Muckadilla dawn ser­vice, held at the Muckadilla ceno­taph, as the sun rose.

The An­zac Day com­mem­o­ra­tions con­tin­ued late into the af­ter­noon in Roma, with fam­i­lies lining the Av­enue of Honour for the An­zac Day pa­rade of ser­vice per­son­nel, com­mu­nity groups and a march­ing band.

The march con­cluded with a mid-morn­ing cer­e­mony, chaired by Bryce Duke.

Roma RSL Sub-branch pres­i­dent George Me­hay gave a speech dur­ing the ser­vice on the Bat­tle of Bul­le­court, one of the dead­li­est bat­tles of World War I.

At first a suc­cess, un­ex­pected is­sues with de­fence lead to 3300 al­lied ca­su­al­ties in the French vil­lage of Bul­le­court, with 1170 Aus­tralians taken pris­oner – the largest num­ber cap­tured in a sin­gle en­gage­ment dur­ing the war.

The Bat­tle of Bul­le­court is a tale close to Mr Me­hay’s heart.

“My fa­ther was born and raised 10km from Bul­le­court and that is where he was dur­ing the first world war – he was 13 years old,” he said.

“Dur­ing this time the Aus­tralian Army fed him and his fam­ily.

“The con­di­tions were very bad at the time, peo­ple were starv­ing. If it weren’t for the (con­tri­bu­tion) of the Aus­tralian Army, I don’t think I would be here to­day.

“Even now in the north of France, they have so much re­spect for the Aus­tralian sol­diers and what they did, many towns have Aus­tralian mu­rals and mem­o­ra­bilia dis­played to this day.

“Gal­lipoli is well known for its large loss of life. How­ever Bul­le­court was the largest loss of cap­tured sol­diers dur­ing the first world war.

“It’s isn’t of­ten men­tioned and I wanted to bring more at­ten­tion to this part of the war – peo­ple need to know.”

Mr Me­hay said the Roma

An­zac Day cel­e­bra­tions had run smoothly.

“We had a good num­ber at the dawn ser­vice – I think the num­bers are re­ally com­ing up,” he said.

“And then for the mid­morn­ing ser­vice, we had great at­ten­dance, prob­a­bly around 800–1000 peo­ple.

“We are now pre­par­ing for Novem­ber 11, which will be big this year, as it marks 100 years since the end of the hostilitie­s of WWI.”

Af­ter the hymns and odes were read, Mr Duke rounded off Roma’s noon cer­e­mony with a poignant quote:

“(To­day) is a timely re­minder that all gave some, some gave all and some are still giv­ing.” More An­zac Day pho­tos on pg 10, 12 and 24.

(To­day) is a timely re­minder that all gave some, some gave all and some are still giv­ing. — Bryce Duke

A NEW DAWN: At­ten­dants ob­serve a minute of si­lence at the Muckadilla dawn ser­vice.


Lau­rie Rus­sell hon­ours the fallen troops in Roma.

Kate Oliver and Roma RSL Sub-Branch pres­i­dent George Me­hay in Muckadilla.


LEST WE FOR­GET: Ivan Gil­lies and Gra­ham Hard­wick at the Muckadilla dawn ser­vice on Wed­nes­day morn­ing.


Sarah Me­hay lays a wreath at the Roma dawn ser­vice.

Greg Reinke and Paul Schipaski.

Robert Menze and Lau­rie Shee­han.

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