One of the nation’s most moving public holidays is quickly approaching, with Anzac Day commemorations and marches returning across Greater Ararat this Sunday.
April 25 marks the 106th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, where the first battle was fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
Ararat Rural City residents are invited to pay tribute at one of the COVID-19 safe services being held across the municipality in Ararat, Elmhurst or Willaura on Sunday, 25 April 2021.
Mayor Cr Jo Armstrong reflects on the importance of Anzac Day to honour and remember those who served and to pay respects to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“My fellow Councillors and I will be paying our respects at one of the Anzac Day services being held across the municipality this year – I’ll be attending the service in Ararat,” Cr Jo Armstrong said.
“I will walk with the Ararat RSL at the parade from the Edith Cavell Reserve to the Ararat Cenotaph, where I will lay a wreath.
“Anzac Day is a very important day of the year for me and my family – my father served as an officer in the New Zealand Army including in Malaya and Vietnam. I will be wearing his service medals with pride on 25 April,” Cr Armstrong concluded.
The Ararat RSL will hold two services this year, the Dawn Service begins at 6am in front of the War Memorial, with visitors encouraged to arrive from 5:45am onwards. There will not be a formal laying of the wreaths at this event but those who would like to lay a wreath may do so after the ceremony. A quick breakfast in the park will follow.
The main ceremony starts at 10am, with the Anzac Day march stepping off at 9:45am, giving participating veterans and the general public an opportunity to honour those who served in the defence of Australia. A formal laying of the wreaths will occur, with visitors encouraged to register with the RSL should they wish to lay one formally.
RSL General Manager Maria Whitford is pleased to see Anzac Day events return to Ararat.
“Given the year we had last year, there is nothing more important than our veteran community, their friends and family coming together this Anzac Day to commemorate,” Ms Whitford said.
“The committee of the Ararat RSL has been very keen to ensure this day goes ahead.”
For the safety of participants and road users, traffic changes will be in place on Anzac Day – Barkly Street from Vincent Street to Queen Street will be closed from 5:00am to 6:30am and 10:15am to 11:30am.
All visitors are required to register online for the event via www.araratrsl.com.au and marshals will be present to assist with COVIDSafe practices on the day.
Find more below on remembrance services held in Willaura and Elmhurst.
Willaura Stand To at 9am
In Willaura, 9am Stand To at the Cenotaph and the Hall Service will go ahead. Students from the Willaura Primary School will take part in both commemorations and members of the public will be invited to lay wreaths.
The Stan To will be immediately followed by a march to the Memorial Hall for a commemorative service there. The community is again fortunate that this year the Hamilton Pipe Band will lead this march, and also bring with them a bugler.
Guest Speaker at the Hall Service will be Commander Mick Brice Mick. He has a strong connection to Willaura since his wife Allison (Knight) was born there. Commander Brice first joined the Royal Australian Navy as an apprentice in 1964, and after serving in HMA ships Duchess and Vendetta, Commander Brice was commissioned as Sub Lieutenant in 1977.
Following the service in the Memorial Hall a short ceremony will be held at the Plantation Memorial, and all are invited to attend. A Morning Tea will be held at the Willaura Primary School with community members attending are encouraged to contribute a plate.