Pilbara crowds pay their respects on Anzac Day

Alicia Perera, Sophia Constantine and Rob DoughertyPilbara News
A member of the catafalque stands to attention at the Karratha Anzac Day dawn service.
Camera IconA member of the catafalque stands to attention at the Karratha Anzac Day dawn service. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

As morning broke on the horizon of the Karratha Country Club, the sun’s first rays highlighted the faces of thousands of people standing silently in memory of all those who have served for their country.

A record crowd turned out to Karratha’s main Anzac Day service, organised by the local RSL sub-branch, to pay their respects to the Anzacs and all Australians and New Zealanders who have served in conflicts since.

Pilbara Regiment Commanding Officer Brett Grant gives an address at the Karratha Anzac Day service.
Camera IconPilbara Regiment Commanding Officer Brett Grant gives an address at the Karratha Anzac Day service. Credit: Alicia Perera

Representatives from the RSL, Pilbara Regiment, City of Karratha and local schools addressed the audience over the course of a moving ceremony, before the Last Post sounded out across the greens and people paused to observe one minute’s silence.

After people had laid their wreaths, the event finished with a Haka and a march including members of the army, local emergency services and scouts.

A group perform the Haka at the Karratha service.
Camera IconA group perform the Haka at the Karratha service. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Karratha RSL president Darren Dymock said he was pleased to see such a big turnout to this year’s event.

“It’s so good that people turn out like this to Anzac Day because it is a big thing,” he said.

“A lot of people do have current and past family members that are serving or have served – whether it is their grand father, great-grand father, son, daughter, mum or dad.”

A bagpiper leads the march at the end of the Karratha service.
Camera IconA bagpiper leads the march at the end of the Karratha service. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

In the historic town of Roebourne, more than 300 people gathered to pay their respects to those who had given their lives for Australia.

Commemorations began with a servicemen’s march from Padbury Road to the Roebourne Cenotaph before the official dawn service commenced at 6am.

Catafalque party members at the Anzac Day dawn service in Roebourne.
Camera IconCatafalque party members at the Anzac Day dawn service in Roebourne. Credit: Pilbara News, Sophia Constantine

Emergency services, clubs, companies, members of parliament, school children, and community members were all invited to lay wreathes.

101-year old Pilbara war veteran Jack Renault praised the Roebourne community for their support.

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel, Pilbara war veteran Jack Renault and Ngarluma elder David Walker in Roebourne.
Camera IconPilbara MLA Kevin Michel, Pilbara war veteran Jack Renault and Ngarluma elder David Walker in Roebourne. Credit: Pilbara News, Sophia Constantine

“I spent six years in the US Army in Australia, New Guinea and in the Philippines during the war,” he said.

“I lived in the wonderful Karratha for 40 odd years.”

“This was a lovely service here in Roebourne. Every year it gets better and better….more people every year.”

In Hedland, hundreds of residents and visitors gathered for the annual Anzac Day dawn service at the town war memorial.

Hedland residents and visitors gather at the Port Hedland war memorial for the dawn service.
Camera IconHedland residents and visitors gather at the Port Hedland war memorial for the dawn service. Credit: North West Telegraph, Rob Dougherty

Royal Australian Navy Commander Tony Ashley commenced with an address to the crowds and an announcement of the sounding of The Last Post, two minutes’ silence and national anthems from Australia and New Zealand.

Community groups, schools and emergency service organisations from Port and South Hedland took part in the wreath-laying ceremony at the war memorial before the Anzac Day parade to Marapikurrinya Park.

Hedland navy cadets place a wreath at the Port Hedland war memorial on Anzac Day.
Camera IconHedland navy cadets place a wreath at the Port Hedland war memorial on Anzac Day. Credit: North West Telegraph, Rob Dougherty

Exmouth has a proud military tradition going back to the 1950s and the crowds at this year’s local services were a nod to that heritage.

About 700 people attended the town’s dawn service and another 200 were also at the commemorative service and march.

The march at the Exmouth Anzac Day service.
Camera IconThe march at the Exmouth Anzac Day service. Credit: Amanda Fuery

For a full overview of Anzac Day ceremonies across the Pilbara, see next week’s issue of the Pilbara News and North West Telegraph.

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