As the sun peaked over the Tamworth landscape a crowd of over 350 bowed their heads to remember the fallen on Tamworth’s picturesque ‘Avenue of Honour’.
Since the Tamworth West Rotary Club re-established the Gipps Street service, almost ten years ago, crowd numbers have been steadily increasing ever since.
On Wednesday Tamworth West Rotary president Simon Guest opened the service with a tribute to General Sir John Monash, and his leadership and decisive victory on the Le Hamel side of Villers Bretonneux in 1918, a famous victory led by Australian soldiers which became a benchmark for operations that followed on the Western Front.
Revered Gus Batley then announced the prayers and scripture, before Tamworth High School’s Sophie McLeod took centre stage on behalf of Member for Tamworth Barnaby Joyce.
The school captain delivered a rousing address, honouring all Australian service men and women “from the Boer War to the present day who have answered the calls of democracy and freedom.”
Keeping in line with tradition, local identity, Bill Forrest OAM dispatched another trademark Anzac Day address, as he has done over several years past.
With vivid imagery Mr Forrest spoke of what those thousands of Australian soldiers would have experienced and endured as their boats landed on the wrong beach in Gallipoli, and the ensuing battle that raged.
He spoke of how from that fateful day of April 25 1915, until Christmas that same year 88 soldiers would die every day. He also spoke of all the other battles and wars since, where Australian blood still stains the land.
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After wreaths were laid, and the Last Post and Reveille played, the crowd came together for a traditional cup of tea and an Anzac biscuit, handed out by students of Tamworth High.
“Keeping services like Gipps street going is very, very important,” Mr Guest said.
“We have got to tell these stories to the generations after us, so that they can continue to keep it going to future generations.
“After seeing the numbers continue to grow here I believe it is in safe hands.”