By Bev Jordan
The ANZAC Dawn Service is returning to the Centenary of Anzac Reserve off Wrights Road Castle Hill after a two year absence due to COVID restrictions.
The service held by the Castle Hill RSL Sub-branch is usually one of the biggest in Sydney. An estimated 15,000 people attended the ANZAC Dawn Service at the Wrights Road venue in 2019 with over 70 wreaths laid.
This year’s service on Monday, April 25th will start at 6am but attendees are urged to aim to get to the venue by 5.30am.
Brigadier Robert Lording CSM, Commander 5th Brigade will be giving the ANZAC Day Dawn service address. The theme is the war in Afghanistan.
President of the Castle Hill RSL sub-branch David Hand said: “I would like to encourage serving and former serving Veterans and Hills residents to attend this year’s ANZAC Day Dawn Service.
“Unfortunately In 2020, COVID hit the world resulting in the cancellation of the ANZAC Dawn Services across Australia. The community rallied and “Light up the Dawn” started and a lot of residents lined their streets to pay their respect. “
He said while there was a small service last year at Bella Vista Farm it was limited to 500 people because of Covid restrictions.
“In 2022 the Castle Hill RSL sub-Branch is thankful it can once again run the ANZAC Dawn Service at the Centenary of ANZAC Reserve, we are planning for 15,000 people to be attending.”
Rees John who is organising the event said there would be a giant screen for the service which will include veterans, serving defence force personnel from RAAF Richmond, 3/22 Squadron Australian Air Force cadets, Baulkham Hill High cadets and emergency service personnel.
There will also be an address by the four ANZAC Day High School ambassadors.
The service will be followed by a breakfast for Castle Hill RSL subbranch members and invited guests. Castle Hill RSL Club will open to the public at 9am on ANZAC Day.
Thousands of poppies made by volunteers will be “planted” by volunteers in the grounds of Castle Hill RSL a week before ANZAC Day.
Castle Hill RSL Vice-President Cheryl Hill (welfare) said 22 members of the Castle Hill sub-branch auxiliary had made thousands of poppies over the past five years. Poppies had also been made and donated by members of the public ranging from the age of 10 to over 90.
“It’s really nice when people drop off poppies they have made to the club,” she said.
There are up to 2,000 poppies on the ANZAC Day wall hanging at Castle Hill RSL. While mostly red, the white poppies represent the nurses who served, purple poppies are for the animal (horses, donkeys, dogs, camels, pigeons and canaries) and the yellow poppies represent the Invictus spirit.
There are four Poppy wall hangings at the Lynwood Golf & Country Club. Cheryl Hill said it was great to return to the Centenary of ANZAC
Reserve for the Dawn Service although the Light Up the Dawn Services run during COVID had been moving.
“The driveway services were really important
as they brought people together in the street
… it kept the ANZAC spirit alive.”