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Cooking up a storm on ANZAC Day
This ANZAC Day Trentham brigade continued a tradition begun 16 years ago, participating in the dawn service and cooking breakfast for everyone after its conclusion.
John McLaren, secretary of Trentham brigade reflects on the service and the role his brigade plays in marking the occasion.
The mist is chill and the street lamp at the corner glows palely above the stone obelisk. Figures appear, materialising from footpaths and lanes still shrouded with night fog. In twos and threes they walk quietly toward the illuminated space in front of the town’s modest monument to the sons, brothers, husbands and fathers who never came home. They stand in silence or chat quietly with friends or neighbours, all wrapped and bundled against the cold. The damp air muffles all sounds. The night has still not given way to the dawn. Neither roosters nor kookaburras have yet called to the new day.
There is a moment of silence and then the skirl of the bagpipes breaks out across the heads of the assembled crowd, reaching through the darkened streets to the very outskirts of the town. The dawn service has begun. A tall man, bearing himself in the military way, welcomes the people and reminds them of the tradition that has developed around this memorial service. Guests are introduced and invited to share their thoughts, songs or poems with the gathering. In time, the bugler plays The Last Post. Then wreaths of flowers are solemnly carried forward and placed at the foot of the granite pillar by men in uniform and children wearing military medals pinned in place by mothers and grandmothers, and others made from leaves of the Mountain Laurel, lain by niece or granddaughter, in memory of Uncle Billy or Granddad. A minute of silence. Lest We Forget! And then Revelle. The call to rise! The sky has begun to glow in the East. The mist is disappearing. The cockatoos have begun to screech overhead. And down the road in the CFA fire station, the brigade is preparing a bacon and egg breakfast for two hundred people.
The Trentham Dawn Service is an independent observance begun sixteen years ago by a group of friends loosely convened by Brett Kelly. In that time, the committee has seen the early morning numbers grow from a few dozen to well more than two hundred this year. The Trentham UFB has usually laid one of the wreaths and has traditionally cooked breakfast for all comers after the service. Gold coin donations this year are planned to fund restoration work on the war memorial. Guest piper, Malcolm Bruce, has promised to brush up on a medley of songs and Highland dances for next year’s event.