Anzac Day in Wollongong

The Dawn Service was at 4.30 am at the memorial in McCabe Park, on which the name of Norman Harold Whitfield is inscribed (erroneously as N P Whitfield). I was too slack to be there at that hour – in fact quite difficult to have done so. Many did turn up though, as these excellent photos from The Illawarra Mercury attest.

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I went to town around midday. Heading towards WIN Stadium I saw:

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There was indeed quite a crowd. See Centenary of Anzac marches on in Wollongong.

There was no doubting the Illawarra’s Anzac spirit on Saturday, as thousands of people who had lined the city streets filed in to Win Stadium to commemorate the centenary.

Silk poppies, rosemary sprigs and Australian flags adorned spectators as army choppers and bomber planes added to the spectacle. 

Welcoming the crowd, Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the Illawarra had transformed from the small collection of towns and villages it was in 1915, into the free and abundant city is is today thanks to the great price paid by soldiers from Gallipoli onwards.

Delivering a traditional welcome to country, Illawarra Aboriginal leader Sharralyn Robinson proved how all pervasive the Anzac legend is by marking two of her family members who fought at Gallipoli.

‘‘Today we remember, today I pay respect to both my husband’s grandfather and my grandfather, as they both fought the battle at Gallipoli,’’ she said.

The crowd – estimated at 7000 – was entertained by several military bands, a combined schools choir and Wongawilli bush band playing war time and Australiana music, a program which was modelled on the very first Anzac Day service.

Chris T and I indeed were at WIN Stadium, but seated in Chargoal contemplating Ottoman dishes similar to this:negphotography_chargoal

Later I did spend some time at City Diggers, then home just before the storm broke – though that was much more dramatic in Sydney. Still, flashes of lightning did add rather to my watching the service at Lone Pine on ABC24.

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