THE dawn service in Murrurundi, was described as one of the warmest to date, as the fog began to clear and delivered the occasional heavy raindrop.
Two light horse formed silhouettes, standing quietly and calmly on the edge of the gathering.
Gary Veale lead the ceremony in the relaxed and reflective way Murrurundians do. Paul Smart from Scone Grammar School read the prologue, the bugler played Amazing Grace and the Last Post, those gathered sang the New Zealand and Australian National anthems and Reverend Barbara Morgan gave the Benediction. School children, organisations and individuals from throughout the area laid wreaths in remembrance at the cenotaph.
Once the morning light had settled, the ceremony finished, and the smell of the barbeque crept in, those who came to remember settled in for a chat and breakfast together.
In Gundy, Trish Ferguson, who faithfully prepares the services, said the dawn service was the biggest yet. Trish said she was shocked to see so many cars as she made her way to the hall, “and people had arrived much earlier than usual, I just couldn’t believe how many people were there.” In Scone the dawn service was also believed to be the largest to date.
At the main ceremony in Scone, with Geurnsey Street closed for the parade, people filled the street. Dr John Paradice, Scone’s last remaining WWII veteran attended to the commemoration with wife Bobbie, alongside veterans from most conflicts since.
See photos of the commemoration below, special thanks to Trish Taylor.
Val Quinell led the service and this year Bruce Brown, a Vietnam veteran spoke for the first time, and told the moving story of Sister Joyce Ada Bridge. Joyce was a young Scone woman who was a nurse during the war. She escaped the Fall of Singapore on board a steamboat, which was then sunk by the Japanese. The survivors surrendered to the Japanese on Bangka Island, Indonesia, and were then taken down to the surf and murdered, with bayonets and machine guns. Joyce was one of 22 Australian nurses, 60 Australian and British soldiers, who were murdered that day.
A poem written by local Tomas Hamilton was read during the service. Val Quinell explained the poem was about two men whose plane crashed in the jungle of Vietnam and they were not found for many years later. Val had been attached to the same division the men belonged to and was relieved when they were found and their bodies returned to Australian soil.
You’ve lain within your fallen steed, for nearly forty years
But decades cannot wipe away, the heartache and the tears
For we tried to bring our warriors home, at the end of that long fray
But sadly two were to remain, for we knew not where they lay
You were not to question why, the riddles of this war
You proudly wore the uniform, as your fathers had before
But you were spared the painful mask, of those who had returned
Who were to face a jeering crowd and our nation’s flag being burned
There are some who’ll say your name, at sunset and at dawn
And some will even see your ghosts, in the mists of ANZAC morn
Your names are found on marble walls, of heroes most long gone
But no one ever leaves this life, while the memories live on
Through the help of former foes, your sanctuary has been revealed
For sweat, hope and tears pushed back, what nature had concealed
The mystery has been put aside, we finally know the truth
And found the place where you have slept, in eternal youth
You’ll be met by your old mates, today well past their prime
Who recall you as you were, in that distant time
For now beneath that jungle dump, your souls no longer roam
You will lie in native soil, our magpies have come home
Photographs of the Scone ANZAC Day service, with special thanks to Trish Taylor.