Piper Don Drysdale at the Tewantin dawn service.
Piper Don Drysdale at the Tewantin dawn service. Peter Gardiner

Many more turn out for dawn's warm greeting of Tewantin Anzacs

THEY gathered in numbers like never before at the Tewantin Anzac Day dawn service waiting for the "first rays of light and the warmth to push away the darkness".

And even after the stirring dawn Last Post and Reveille had been sounded by young bugler Elliot Rowely, and the catafalque party of Noosa Navy cadets and the parade of solemn, but still resolute ex-servicemen had been dismissed, they stayed on to pay their respect.

Groups of families with young children milled around the cenotaph, bearing two wreaths laid by the Tewantin Noosa RSL, Mayor Tony Wellington and Councillor Joe Jurisevic, to honour the fallen.

Some stood and read the names of Diggers who lost their lives in the Great War which are now etched in monumental marble - W.A. Bauer, R. Barr, R .H. Finney, R.W Finney, J.E. Marsden and H.S. White.

Everyday Noosa folk gave meaning to the cenotaph inscription: "Their name liveth for evermore."

Among the many respectful early risers were John Parkinson of Noosaville and his twin 11-year-old sons Declan and Brae who were part of the service military parade.

"It is important to be here this morning - I don't mind getting out of bed," said Declan bearing his grandfather's war medals.

John said "I was a sapper in the engineers in East Timor, part of the nine-month campaign.

"I served and my mother's father served. Max Cooper was in New Guinea and I think Borneo.

"I think it is good that people turn out and understand what it's about - even if it is for one day."

Tewantin Noosa RSL Sub-branch president Mick Reid said many of the servicemen were certain this was the biggest gathering they'd seen except for the once-in-a-lifetime 2015 Gallipoli landing centenary commemorations held on Noosa Main Beach.

"This is just fantastic, it really is gratifying to see that many people make the effort," he said.

"This has turned out to be one of the great mornings without a doubt."

There was a noticeable police presence at the Dawn Service, but Noosa officer in charge Senior Sergeant Steve McReight, who attended the ceremony, said there had been no extra security concerns.

He said apart from two designated Anzac Day officers and the normal police patrol, the rest of the uniformed police were there in their own time to pay their respects.

"This morning the crowd was very big, but next year will probably be bigger as it marks the end the (First World) War," Sen Sgt McReight said.

In his service welcome Mick Reid: "As we gather in this solemn place to commemorate the 102nd landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula, we await for the first rays of light and the warmth to push away the darkness.

"We remember the terrible sacrifice made by the Commonwealth and Turkish forces during the nine months of the campaign.

"With over 140,000 allied casualties and in excess of 11,000 Australian/New Zealand deaths by the end, at this time it is important to stop and reflect what this day means to every one of us."

Reverend Leonie Gaffel gave the prayer to those Anzacs "whose stories we know and those whose stories will forever remain unknown".

She prayed with the many dawn paraders to remembers those who had sacrificed their lives since that first Anzac Day "in the cause of liberty and peace".

"Help us to remember those who still bear the physical and mental scars, whose lives and bodies are forever changed because of their service," Rev Gaffel said.

"Help us to remember the mateship, the agony, the courage and the companionship of war service, but save us from ever glorifying the horror and the tragedy of war."


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