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ANZAC Day 2024

Published on Friday, 26 April 2024 at 3:58:00 PM

On Thursday, 25 April 2024, just before the first light of dawn, hundreds of community members gathered to commemorate the sacrifices and bravery of the Australian and New Zealand Armed Forces. The morning proceedings commenced with an ANZAC Day March along Barrack Street starting at the Australia Post Office, and down to the Merredin Cenotaph with the inclusion of piper Reagan Jones. Once the clock ticked over to 6:00am, the Merredin Military Cadets left the procession and assumed their positions to proudly raise the flags.

Shire President, Mark McKenzie presided over the service, which commenced shortly after dawn. He begun by welcoming and acknowledging the veterans in attendance, offering his gratitude for their service, sacrifice, and commitment to defending our freedoms, before thanking the community for braving the cold morning to pay tribute to our heroes.

The Shire President then paid a touching tribute to two local veterans who had recently passed away; Mr Eddie Johnston, WWII Veteran, and Mr. Jim Willcox, Vietnam Veteran. They were recognised for their unwavering dedication to serving the nation, and for their bravery and determination.

“They stood shoulder to shoulder with their comrades, facing the challenges of conflict with bravery and determination. As we reflect on their lives and their service, let us remember their courage, their sacrifice, and their devotion to duty. Though they may no longer be with us in person, their spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of all who knew them,” the Shire President said.

Following the tribute, Mark Beagle was invited forward to lead the Lord’s Prayer, before a beautiful display of wreaths was laid to honour those who sacrificed so much to fight for our country. This was then followed by the ODE recited by Aub Tompkin, The Last Post performed by Natalia Warnock from Merredin College, and the singing of both the Australian and New Zealand National Anthems by Jade Healey-Ratima.

The Dawn Service concluded shortly after, with the Shire President extending an invitation to all in attendance to attend a Gunfire Breakfast at the Tivoli, which was kindly prepared by the Merredin Men’s Shed.

Later in the day, a Mid-Morning Service was held at Cummins Theatre which also attracted a large crowd of community members who wished to pay their respects. This service was led once again by Shire President Mark McKenzie, with the proceedings mimicking much of the Dawn Service, with the addition of Benjamin Townson leading the Lord’s Prayer, A Choired Taste singing a beautiful rendition of the Hymn ‘Amazing Grace,’ and Guest Speaker Constable Cody Crisp, who filled the hearts and ears with memories he shared of his grandfather’s time of service.

The Mid-Morning service concluded after a performance of ‘Four Hundred Seasons,’ by A Choired Taste, which was followed by a light lunch in the Tivoli made possible by the generosity of Collgar Renewables.

The Shire of Merredin would like to thank the community for their engagement with, and continued support of, the ANZAC Day events in Merredin; it is a true reflection and demonstration of the ANZAC Spirit, which will continue to be remembered and honoured by future generations to come.

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