A quiet and somber crowd started to gather at the Eudunda War Memorial in the twilight of dawn, ready for the start of the annual ANZAC service.
Approximately 170 people came from across the region and many local organisations were represented including a large contingent from the Eudunda CFS who attended in full uniform.
The morning started with Eudunda RSL President, John Stephens welcoming everyone on what was a most pleasant morning. John said,
“This morning is to commemorate that morning 108 years ago when began the ANZAC tradition that is still carried on by armed forces today.
“We are very fortunate this morning that we have some troops from the Australian Army 7th Battalion, who are going to form a catafalque guard on the cenotaf during the service.”
Young soldiers from the 7th Battalion RAR, Charlie Company Cpl J. Curtis, G. Bharati, N. Pham, L. Burgess, A.T. Nguyen, B.J. Blanch formed the catafalque party at the Eudunda ANZAC Dawn Service.
Once the catafalque party was mounted the service was conducted by Andrew Partington who welcomed everyone and said,
“This is a day we commemorate the 108th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, but its also a day we commemorate all those who have served, all those who are serving in the defence force today and all those who will serve in the future.”
The first hymn “Eternal Father” was sung by all. Following was the reading of the “Lord’s Prayer” and Andrew made a comment,
“The universality of this prayer is that no matter what your faith is, if we live these words there would be no wars”.
The service continued with Andrew,
“We are indeed proud to live in a wonderful country, a country where we have freedoms that a lot of other nations in the World do not.
“A freedom to vote, a freedom to protest, a freedom to persue a religious faith of your own without fear of persecution.
“Australia is indeed a lucky country, but these freedoms also have a price, and today we gather here to remember those who have served our country so that we may maintain those freedoms, and we remember in particular those who have died in the service of our country throught many conflicts.
“We also commemorate those who have passed on in subsequent conflicts after the Galippoli landing. We look at the Second World War (WWII), Korea, Malaysia, Borneo, Vietnam, Laos, Timor, The Solomons, East Africa, Iraq, Afganistan and a host of other overseas missions. …
“They have paid the ultimate tribute and the ultimate sacrifice so that we can have our freedoms that we so much treasure.
“Unfortunately we have this strange paradox in our World, where, in order to have peace we have to have war, and I remember the old motto of the RSL, the Returned Soldier’s, Sailor’s, Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia
‘The price of liberty is eternal vigilance’
“And that is where we owe a salute of grattitude to our serving ADF members today.”
The placing of the wreaths and tributes was lead by John Stephens who placed a wreath on behalf of the past and present members of the Eudunda RSL, followed by Adrian Schmidt on behalf of the Robertstown RSL Sub Branch.
Many wreaths were laid, including from the Regional Council of Goyder, Australian Red Cross Eudunda Branch, Julia & Districts War Memorial Hall, Eudunda Area School, St John’s Lutheran Primary School, Eudunda Bowling Club, Eudunda & Districts Probus Club, Eudunda Family Heritage Gallery, Eudunda & Districts Agricultural & Horticultural Society, Eudunda Community, Business & Tourism Committee (ECBAT), Neales Flat Country Fire Service, Eudunda CFS, SA Ambulance Service Eudunda, Eudunda & Robertstown Netball Club, Eudunda & Robertstown Football Club, Merchant Navy Association of South Australia.
The last wreath laid was by Andrew Partington who said,
“I place this wreath on behalf of the Merchant Navy Association of South Australia – for all those who died at sea in times of conflict and have no known grave but the sea.”
The next hymn ‘Lead Kindly Light’ was sung by all.
Everyone was asked to ‘Stand Fast’, for a Minutes Silence, The Ode of Remembrance and Reveille.
The sounds of the bugle and the haunting words of the Ode resonated in the morning air;
They shall grow not old,
as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning
We will remember them.
As a mark of respect those attending responded,
“We will remember them”
One Minutes silence was held as a mark of our respect on the significance of the day and is a sign of respect. How inspiring, humbling and human is it to stand in a large crowd of people, all in silence, all as one, in memory of sacrifice?
There was sadness yet an inner peace to be found, during that minutes silence, heightened by the sounds of nature in the Memorial Gardens as birds were singing and even the sound of a frog chirping not too far away, telling us telling us there can be peace in the future and what a healthy memorial garden we were in, thanks to the wonderful work of the Eudunda Garden Volunteers.
The Benediction, preceeded the National Anthems of New Zealand and Australia,
followed by the dismounting of the catafalque party, and the ANZAC service was over.
After the service, uniformed and ex service personel formed up on Gunn Street ready to march to the Eudunda RSL Rooms, with soldiers of the 7th Battalion RAR, Charlie Company leading the march.
Uniformed and ex service personel marched behind Charlie Company to the Eudunda RSL Rooms with Andy Riemekasten of the Eudunda RSL being the proud Australian Flag bearer.
Members of the 7th Battalion RAR, Charlie Company who formed the catafalque party at the ANZAC Dawn Service, Eudunda stopped for a photo before enjoying refreshments and a chat at the Eudunda RSL Club. We thank them for attending our district and sharing with us this ANZAC Day.
Lest We Forget!
This year there are some significant dates to remember:
- The 108th Anniversary since the Landing of the ANZACs on Galippoli
- The 70th Anniversary since the end of The Korean War (ending on 27 July 1953)
- The 50th Anniversary since the end of Australian involvement in the Vietnam War
A great reference to the sacrifices of our Service Men & Women can be found at
Australian War Memorial website