ANZAC Day is held April 25th, yearly. For 20 years, Currumbin RSL has held an ANZAC Day Dawn Service which has developed over time to become an iconic Queensland Event with a national audience.
From humble beginnings the event has grown and matured to a well know service held at Elephant Rock, Currumbin and resulting in the attendance of close to 10,000 people in 2012 and a national telecast to over half a million people. Channel 7’s national show ‘Sunrise’ has covered the service on site every year since 2007. Sunrise has also done a live cross of our Dawn Service to Gallipoli – taking Currumbin RSL’s event global.
The Currumbin RSL Dawn Service begins with a march along Murabba Street at Currumbin Beach. The march consists of both service and ex-service men and women along with their families and the families of those who have lost someone in war. In 2012 the march was led by Keith Payne VC OAM DSC SS and four Light Horsemen. The presence of the Mudgeeraba Light Horsemen on steeds and the Albert Battery provide visual representation and act as a reminder of our past times of conflict. The march ends at Elephant Rock at Currumbin Beach at 5am and a lone piper plays signifying the commencement of the official service.
The service runs for approximately one hour and takes place with the vast open ocean as backdrop, symbolic of the Gallipoli foreshore where the ANZACs met their fate in 1915. The service includes a laying of wreaths at the Memorial Plaque and video footage from wars throughout history where Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought. All this is followed by a poignant address by the Chaplin, Father Tony Gunter. Music plays throughout the service which creates a reverent feeling through the crowd.
Currumbin RSL incorporates a variety of young community members from Surf Life Saving Nippers to local school children who assist Currumbin RSL Sub Branch members in the traditional “releasing of the doves” as a symbolic gesture for world peace. It is also tradition that Currumbin RSL selects two school aged youth to assist in singing the Australian and New Zealand National Anthems and the winner of the Federal Member’s Essay Competition who communicates their thoughts on the ANZACs and what the day means to them.
With Ron Workman OAM (Currumbin RSL President) at the helm, the roll of honour precedes the veteran’s ashes taken out to sea. The burial ashes released at sea is a final and fitting gesture and unique to Currumbin RSL and incorporates the Currumbin Vikings’ Boat Crew. This part of the service first took place in 2008 with the number of requests increasing each year. In 2012 nine Veteran’s ashes were put to rest which included three couples who wished to depart together. This has added a significant and moving activity to what was already a full service.
Each year the number in attendance at the Dawn Service increases with thousands lining the beach and this audience includes people of all ages. Currumbin RSL supplies large screens and professional outdoor sound equipment to provide excellent viewing and sound for all attendees. The RSL also provides and coordinates several return courtesy buses to and from the service from both the RSL and the local shopping centre and runs extensive preliminary meetings with all stakeholders.
This day is also an opportunity to pay respect for all those involved in Australia’s Military history. The key objectives being to convey, pride, respect, national identify and unity with gratitude and thanks.
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