12 May, 2023
ANZAC Day 2023 - Gilgandra Morning Service
This year’s ANZAC Day march to the 11am service in Gilgandra was held on a sunny and warm day. It was a peaceful, unassuming day - the kind of day that those who have fought for our country sacrificed for.
crowd gathered to remember and honour those who
have gone before us, those that fought and died, those
that returned - damaged or bruised, and those that continue
to serve our nation.
Gilgandra Shire Council’s mayor Doug Batten officiated
the service held at the cenotaph, adorned in knitted
poppies. He began by acknowledging the traditional
custodians of this land and he paid “respects to the
many Indigenous Australians who have and continued
to serve in our armed forces”.
“Today we commemorate those men and women
who have given their lives to defend the freedom that
we all enjoy in this country. We are all aware that
ANZAC Day originated 108-years-ago when
Australian and New Zealand troops stormed the predawn
beaches at Gallipoli. The subsequent battle took a
terrible toll, with nearly 36,000 ANZACs killed or
wounded. Many of them teenagers like some of the
young men and women here today,” said mayor Batten.
“Despite overwhelming odds. They held their
ground through courage, perseverance, determination,
self-reliance, and above all mateship.
“These characteristics didn’t just appear at Gallipoli;
they were part of the Australian character. Forged by a
hard land, a young nation, and a need to rely on each
other in tough times.
Gallipoli showed the world that Australians were
made of strong stuff. Strong, determined, and courageous.
Gallipoli showed what Australians already knew
- we look after one another,” said mayor Batten.
“We cannot bring back those who made the ultimate
sacrifice, but we can honour and remember their contribution
to our way of life, and continue to nurture those
same unselfish qualities in ourselves, and our young
men and women,” mayor Batten concluded.
Throughout the service, the Coo-ee Choir led the
crowd in a number of songs and hymns.
Gilgandra High School’s Harrison King read a tribute
to Australian service personnel, ‘At the going down
of the Sun’. This was followed by the school’s Georgia
Briggs, who read a poem titled ‘The inquisitive mind of
Peter Hall then presented a prayer.
President of the Gilgandra Sub-Branch, Bruce
Horwood, gave the commemoration address. He read a
reflection on this year being the 50th anniversary of the
withdrawal of the Australian combat forces from
Vietnam, by Vin Cosgrove OAM. A Vietnam veteran,
Vin Cosgrove served in the 2RAR New Zealand
ANZAC battalion 1967/1968.
“Over 3000 of almost 60,000 Australians who
served in Vietnam were physically wounded; the number
impacted with exposure to agent orange we will
“We pause (today) to reflect on the bravery, teamwork
and endurance that Australians display throughout
the war. On this day we honour and recognise all who
served. Those who lost their lives during the battle,
those who returned home wounded, ill or injured. Those
who lost their lives since they returned, and those who
still carry the physical and emotional scars.”
“In 1978 following the Communists gaining control
in Vietnam, thousands of Vietnamese refugees left the
country in small boats some reaching Darwin,
Australia. Suddenly Australians were made aware of
the problems facing the Vietnamese refugees. By the
end of 1979, 2011 ‘Vietnamese boat people’, as they
had been termed by the media, had survived the dangerous
journey from Vietnam; many had died trying.
“The role of the Vietnamese refugees signalled the
end of the infamous ‘white Australia policy’ and was
accompanied by much argument and debate.”
“In 1987, many veterans and their families came in
from the cold, following the welcome home parade in
Sydney. 25,000 veterans from across Australia
marched. A hundred thousand plus spectators and family,
clapped and cheered the parade. The march ushered
in a period of enlightenment for many veterans.
“The Last Post Ceremony of Love, Loss, and
Remembrance, commenced at the Australian War
Memorial in 2013. This initiative was the vision of the
then director Dr Brendan Nelson AO. Many Vietnam
service men and women on the role have been honoured
already,” concluded Mr Horwood.
High school student Tayarna McKenzie read a tribute
to the fallen. Followed by Marshall Fairey who recited
the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
Mayor Batten then
invited community members forward for the laying of
wreaths on the cenotaph. Bruce Horwood then returned
to the podium and recited ‘The Ode of Remembrance’.
Bugler David Lamb played The Last Post, the flags
were lowered before a minute’s silence was observed.
Mr Lamb then played the Reveille while the flags
returned to the top of their masts, by Kapene Karaitiana
and Uncle Ralph Naden.
The commemoration ended with the Australia and New Zealand National Anthems. Gilgandra Services Club’s manager Quentin Karaitiana sang the NZ anthem in Māori language.