100TH ANNIVERSARY ANZAC DAY ATTRACTS RECORD ISLAND CROWDS
Huge Island crowds responded to the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli.
All island locations reported spectacular attendances - clearly a record.
The Dawn Service on Macleay Island was nothing short of brilliant.
The superb location, the stunning sunrise and more than 1000 Macleay Islanders made the anniversary event something special indeed.
The serious tone to the anniversary was highlighted by the booming of cannon and machine gun fire from a similarly spectacular Dawn Service at Redland Bay. The sounds were clearly audible over the islands.
It was a similar pattern right across the Bay Islands as well as other Redlands locations.
On Macleay the service was led by RSL president Russell Hearps with secretary Sandy Freeleagus giving the main address with veteran Dick Pearce and former RSL president reciting The Ode to the Fallen followed by the playing of the Last Post.
The Dawn Service on Russell Island attracted nearly 500 people with the main 11am service again attracting a record attendance.
A standout was the playing of the Last Post at both the Dawn Service and main service by Macleay Island lass Abbey Sutton, a former student of Faith Lutheran who performed a similar task at Villers Bretonneux two year sago.
Also the Russell Island Singers who could not make the early Dawn Service, recorded songs to be played, but later were on hand at the Main Service.
The main service was led by RSL president Anthony Gleeson with an introduction by Cr Mark Edwards and former Army Major Peter Battle giving the stirring main address.
All those who attended understood what it was like to be in the trenches at Gallipoli; to turn to their mates and shake hands before going ‘over the top’ to certain death.
An interesting attendee at the Russell Service in full Scottish attire was new island resident Bill Sim whose Great Grand Father was a member of the famous Black Watch and was killed at Loos in 1916.
His grand father was a survivor of the famous New Guinea campaign in the Second World War.
Bill himself was a member of the Australian Submarine Service for nearly 12 years.
Other highlights at the service were the poem written and performed by island resident Nola Hartvigsen and Flanders Fields spoken by Russell Island State School student Bethany Keddie.
Harry Lovett conducted the wreath laying service.
Father Jim Brown put in a sterling effort attending both the Macleay Dawn and Russell main services.
A relative new innovation was the famous Karragarra Dusk Anzac Day Service, conducted by John Pole.
Now in its 7th year, it is a wonderful ceremony that sees wreaths put into the Bay in a fitting and spectacular setting as the sun goes down at the end of the day.
Cr Mark Edwards and his wife Suzette had the honour of placing the ‘official wreath’ into the waters at the famous Karragarra Beach.
The setting has to be one of the best anywhere in a unique and definitely different ceremony.
On North Stradbroke Island the Dawn Service and main services were held at the Cenotaph and the Stradbroke RSL at Dunwich. Again record crowds prevailed. The Dawn Service was attended by about 600 people, a good share of the island’s population.
Reverend Alan Shephard recited the Lord's Prayer, and Howard Bevin recited Paul Keating’s tribute to the Unknown Soldier. The service was followed by the traditional Gunfire Breakfast at the Dunwich RSL Club.
The 11am service was also well attended.
Cheryl Rodgers read the names of the WWI island volunteers followed by a keynote address by Lt. Col. Bill Giles.
Reverend Alan Shephard said prayers and a short address, followed by a flyover by the island's Straddie Aero Club.
It was a great Anzac Day on Coochiemudlo Island.
There were big crowds at both the 5.30am Dawn Service and the 10am ceremonies.
The first ferry over at 5am carried about 100 people and the ferry operator refused to accept fares from any of them.
Ian Rowlland reports that this gesture was well received, “which I thought was very poignant and generous”.
The crowds at both services were easily a record.
“Everyone seemed to want to be out for this very special 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings,” Ian Rowland added.
The Biggest turnout ever on Lamb Island heralded the Dawn at the Lamb Island Cenotaph and then at the Recreation Club.
It was the 20th anniversary of the Dawn Service being staged by the Club.
Club secretary, Kirsty Allen, said the club normally caters for 120 for the Gunfire Breakfast and, ‘there was way more than that here this year’.
"We believe there were more than 200 in attendance for our Dawn Service.
“It was a wonderful service and a brilliant morning,” she said.