Thousands turn out for Pilbara ANZAC Day services

Alicia Perera, Shannon Beattie and Daneka HillPilbara News
Members of the Pilbara Regiment salute at the ANZAC Day service in Karratha.
Camera IconMembers of the Pilbara Regiment salute at the ANZAC Day service in Karratha. Credit: Pilbara News, Shannon Beattie

The notes of the Last Post rang out over hushed crowds at ANZAC Day dawn services across the Pilbara this morning, as thousands of residents gathered to pay their respects to the men and women who have served our country.

In Karratha, more than a thousand people gathered at the Karratha Country Club for a ceremony and march.

In his speech, Pilbara Regiment Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Brett Grant spoke of the importance of ANZAC Day as a time not to celebrate war, but remember our heroes both past and present.

Cadets walk in the ANZAC Day march in Karratha.
Camera IconCadets walk in the ANZAC Day march in Karratha. Credit: Pilbara News, Shannon Beattie
Pilbara Regiment Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Brett Grant and Captain Paul Garrioch at the ANZAC DAY service in Karratha.
Camera IconPilbara Regiment Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Brett Grant and Captain Paul Garrioch at the ANZAC DAY service in Karratha. Credit: Pilbara News, Shannon Beattie

Wreaths were laid by many including the Pilbara Regiment, City of Karratha, police, SES, fire services and students from all of the schools in town.

At the end of the ceremony a Haka was performed by locals from New Zealand and a breakfast followed at the Country Club and Pilbara Regiment headquarters.

New Zealanders perform the Haka at the ANZAC Day service in Karratha.
Camera IconNew Zealanders perform the Haka at the ANZAC Day service in Karratha. Credit: Pilbara News, Shannon Beattie
Wreaths at the Karratha ANZAC Day service.
Camera IconWreaths at the Karratha ANZAC Day service. Credit: Pilbara News, Shannon Beattie

In Roebourne, several hundred people gathered for an intimate ceremony at the cenotaph in the town’s main street.

The North West’s oldest town was the only established settlement in the City of Karratha area during World War I and the cenotaph bears the names of the 172 men from Roebourne and surrounds who enlisted.

A Catafalque party in formation around the Roebourne cenotaph.
Camera IconA Catafalque party in formation around the Roebourne cenotaph. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera
A group of local singers perform the New Zealand national anthem at the Roebourne ANZAC Day ceremony.
Camera IconA group of local singers perform the New Zealand national anthem at the Roebourne ANZAC Day ceremony. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

As a Catafalque party stood to attention, speakers spoke of the ANZACs’ sacrifice, recited an ode to their memory, sang the Australian and New Zealand national anthems and laid wreaths in tribute.

The service was followed by a gunfire breakfast at the Roebourne fire station.

Wreaths at the Roebourne cenotaph.
Camera IconWreaths at the Roebourne cenotaph. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera
Josh and Shireen Boord, wearing medals from their own and their families’ service in the defence forces, at the Roebourne cenotaph.
Camera IconJosh and Shireen Boord, wearing medals from their own and their families’ service in the defence forces, at the Roebourne cenotaph. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Meanwhile in Port Hedland, hundreds gathered under the cover of darkness at the local war memorial.

Vehicles drove in on mass, creating an unbroken path of red tail lights into town.

Dawn service in Port Hedland.
Camera IconDawn service in Port Hedland. Credit: Daneka Hill
Members of the public gather for the dawn service in Port Hedland.
Camera IconMembers of the public gather for the dawn service in Port Hedland. Credit: North West Telegraph, Daneka Hill

At the conclusion of the ceremony a sole member of the crowd performed an unplanned Haka by the memorial, joined by one other.

Speeches by representatives of the Pilbara Regiment and RSL reaffirmed to those silently gathered that the day was a solemn one and devoted remembering the realities of war and sacrifices made.

Serving defence force, veterans, emergency services, girl guides and the local scouts participated in the Port Hedland march.
Camera IconServing defence force, veterans, emergency services, girl guides and the local scouts participated in the Port Hedland march. Credit: Daneka Hill
As the crowd started to dissipate in Port Hedland, an impromptu Haka was performed alone by one attendee.
Camera IconAs the crowd started to dissipate in Port Hedland, an impromptu Haka was performed alone by one attendee. Credit: North West Telegraph, Daneka Hill

Other Pilbara towns to host dawn services included Tom Price, Paraburdoo, Onslow, Newman and Exmouth.

For more, see next Wednesday’s issue of the Pilbara News.

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