April 17th 2013
ANZAC Day 2013
On 25th April, Magnetic Island RSL Sub-Branch will again be providing an opportunity for the Magnetic Island community to commemorate ANZAC Day, to remember our fallen servicemen and women.
The commemoration will start with an Ecumenical Service to be held at St Margaret's Church, Endeavour Road, Arcadia, on ANZAC Eve, Wednesday 24th April, commencing at 7.30pm. All are welcome and invited to attend this service, which will be conducted by Rev. Beryl Finch.
On ANZAC Day, Thursday 25th April, Sealink will provide free travel from Townsville on a ferry departing Breakwater at 4am, and Sunbus will meet the ferry to provide transport to the RSL who are very appreciative of the support by Sealink and Sunbus as well as their volunteers.
Sunbus will also provide a free service for Islanders to get to the Dawn Service at Alma Bay, with buses departing from Horseshoe Bay and Picnic Bay at 5am. Please note this service will go direct to Alma Bay along Horseshoe Bay Road and Sooning Street respectively, and will pick up only along those roads.
Marchers will assemble at the RSL Memorial Hall in Hayles Avenue from about 4.40am and rum and milk will be served before the march. This echoes the traditional coffee or milk fortified by rum which WWI soldiers were often given on the eve of going into battle. Formal assembly will be at 5.10am and the march will step off at 5.20am. If you are a veteran who can't quite manage the march, please feel free to use the transport so generously provided by Magnetic Island Community Care.
Something a bit different this year is that Hayles Avenue will not be closed to traffic as it has been in past years, so the marchers will need to be aware of vehicular traffic and keep to the left, as far as is possible on the narrow road to Alma Bay.
This year the RSL Sub-Branch is very proud to have secured the services of the Thuringowa Pipe Band, who will lead the march. They will be followed by the colour party from RAN Training Ship CORAL SEA, then the RSL's military representatives.
The entry of the marchers to Alma Bay is a very moving experience. It is anticipated that many veterans of the armed forces will be present, as well as a sizeable contingent of current serving servicemen and women, and other groups and organisations.
At Alma Bay the Dawn Service will be conducted by Rev Beryl Finch. The catafalque party (those who stand guard at the Stone of Remembrance) are serving members from No 10 Force Support Battalion, from Ross Island Barracks. The guest speaker this year is someone many will know - former Island resident, past President of the Magnetic Island RSL Sub-Branch and current serving member, MAJ Keith Chambers. The Ode to the Fallen will be recited by the Island's oldest digger, Col Fulford.
A very important part of the service is the laying of floral tributes for the fallen. Many of the invited dignitaries will lay wreaths and members of community organisations and also members of the public are invited to lay wreaths. In a tradition established some years ago on Magnetic Island, some people may prefer to lay a book rather than a wreath, and these books will then be donated by the RSL to Magnetic Island State School.
At the conclusion of the Dawn Service at the spectacular setting of Alma Bay - reminiscent of the beach at Gallipoli - the marchers will return to the RSL Memorial Hall, led once more by the stirring sound of pipes and drums. All who attended the Dawn Service are invited back to the Memorial Hall to join the RSL for a hearty breakfast and a day of continued commemoration of fallen comrades.
This year Sealink will kindly provide a free return trip for those who are returning to the mainland. The RSL Sub-Branch thanks all those businesses, community groups and individuals who are providing the essential support for this most important day, including the many volunteers who are working for us on the day, providing the veterans with transport, sustenance and support.