April 28 - May 4, 2019: Issue 402


Anzac Day In Pittwater 2019

Anzac Day Dawn Service at Newport Cenotaph - photo courtesy Cr. Kylie Ferguson

In Commemorative services across Pittwater thousands gathered to honour those who have served Australia in our Defence arms of Army, Navy and Air Force for well over 100 years.

At Newport's Cenotaph 300 residents heard from a serving Australian Army member about other Newport residents who had served in past conflicts, including the five Porter brothersAt Pittwater RSL Chief Petty Officer Zamri Burns, a New Zealander by birth, gave a stirring address. At Avalon Beach RSL Sub-Branch's Dawn Service, Acting President Drew Martin gave the Dawn Requiem.

In Avalon's Dunbar Park at 5 a.m., in the dark, preparations were going on by a large team of volunteers from the Sub-Branch. Cadets were practicing, the Catafalque party were practicing, the Colour Party were practicing.

One by one and then in more and more groups around two thousand people gathered quietly - in the dark.

At 5.25 a.m., as the first glow of morning light began to bear up against blue night lit with sparks of stars, the stillness was broken by three kookaburras on the green hill to the north sounding out their round of song. 

A moment later a single magpie carolling sweetly in answer in the tree above the Dunbar green. A moment after that a butcher bird sang in imitation of the kookaburras to the west while dawn crept closer from the east.

Then the kookaburras sounded just once again and fell silent. 

They sounded just like the Reveille.

The Reveille is sounded out only at Anzac Day and Remembrance Day Services nowadays. 

The softness and awakeness that was in the Avalon village green at that moment was palpable. It was felt by everyone there - they had been joined by loved lost ones. It was unmistakable. 

For those already close to tears something shifted, brought closer the worn belongings of lost loved ones or brought closer the softness the bird calls at compass points sounded as the first Rouse. Brought closer some comfort, some solace.

Reveille, from the French word ‘reveillez’, meaning to ‘wake-up’, was originally played as a drum beat just prior to daybreak. Its purpose is to wake up the sleeping soldiers and to let the sentries know that they could cease challenging. It was also a signal to open the town gates and let out the horse guard, allowing them to do a reconnaissance of the immediate area beyond the walls. 

During the ANZAC Day Dawn Service, the Last Post is sounded followed by a minute of silence. The silence is broken by the Reveille. Today, the Reveille is only performed on the various Dawn services or as the first call of the day in Barracks.

It symbolises an awakening in a better world for the dead, and also rouses the living back to duty, now their respects have been paid to the memory of their comrades. 

After that moment settled, Acting President of the Avalon Beach RSL Sub-Branch, Drew Martin read his prepared Requiem for the Anzac Day Dawn Service:

Requiem for Anzac Day
Drew Martin, Acting President, Avalon Beach RSL Sub Branch

In the half light of early dawn April 25th 1915 thousands of Australia’s and New Zealand’s finest stormed the beaches of Suvla Bay. Before the first gun shots echoed the world had not really heard the word ANZAC. By nightfall that day, the world would could never forget the name ANZAC and the Symbolism that is contained within it. A symbol of immense loss of life, a symbol of courage in the face of adversity, a symbol of Australian tenacity and most importantly, a symbol by which to remember continued sacrifice. A symbol that ensures that we that are left to grow old will never ever forget.

We will never forget the sacrifices of those that fell on the shores of Gallipoli, those that fell on the Battle Fields of the Western Front – Ypres, the Somme, Villiers Bretonneux. The seeds of Australian sacrifice were sown across the battlefields of France, Belgium, and Germany. And at the end of World War I over 60, 000 of our finest had paid the ultimate sacrifice. To put that in perspective, the Australian population at the time was approximately four million. Within two years of wars end the same number had died of their war wounds upon return to Australia.

We will never forget those that heeded the call when the world once again went to war in Europe and the Pacific. We will not forget those that perished in aircraft over the Solomon Islands, nor those that went to watery graves entombed in ships or those that slogged it out in Kokoda, never to return home. When the guns fell silent in 1945 another 29, 000 had paid the ultimate sacrifice. And for the first time in our history brave men and women were killed on Australian soil, with more bombs falling on Darwin than Pearl Harbour.

As the years progressed Australian Sacrifice continued to be made with the occupation of Japan, the Korean war and the Indonesian confrontation. In my life alone we have sent brave man and women to Vietnam, the Solomons, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. They went, they fought with distinction, and sadly many were returned home in a flag draped casket.

For those that lay in foreign battlefields we will never forget you. Those that lay beneath the sea, we will never forget you. And those that have been returned home in flag draped coffins and buried on home soil – we will never forget you. You are all ANZACs to the core.


VALE - for Members lost this year - Sub Branch: Tamara Sloper Harding - Club: Mark Houlder

Sub-Branch Service Members: Ack Van Balen, Rob Murray, Neil Macgowan, Jim Gregory, Peter Wilson

Sub-Branch Affiliate Members: Sylvia Wilson and Margaret Hurley

Club Members: Anthony Plumridge, Saverio Polimeni, Sandy Schofield, Neville Watkins

Flanders Field read by Barrenjoey High School Students: Annabel Bates (Yr. 9) Alex Butler (Yr. 8) and Piper Kemp (Yr. 8)
Bugler: Robbie Adams
Piper: Eric Meppen
Vocalist: Samantha Shaw
Catafalque Party formed from the 201 Army Cadets and 305 Squadron Australian Air Force Cadets.

Anzac Day Commemorative Services at Pittwater RSL, Narrabeen RSL, Palm Beach RSL and Avalon Beach RSL all include a March of Remembrance on Anzac Day. Veterans and Serving Defence Force members lead and those who wish to March wearing family members Service medals or just carrying a photograph of a relative follow as part of the ranks.

The Avalon Beach RSL Sub-Branch 11 a.m.Service brings the whole community together in a March and Commemorative Service in broad daylight. For those who attend it is a chance to pay Tribute to loved ones with others who are doing the same, from every background, from every age group, from schools, sports clubs, service clubs and volunteer organisations.  As 'Mateship meaning everything' is the core of what Australians have inherited from past and current generations of Service personnel, honouring this through whole community mateship is part of each annual Tribute.

It's how we all stem the tears.

By being each other's mate, by getting each other's back - by being resolved to care about each other not just then, but on every other day too. 

It's how we can smile and clap each other on the back or hug each other after the Commemorations - just as those who have fought for our peace would want us to. To celebrate and honour them through celebrating and honouring each other - aware the peace in which to do so has been defended by others.

Acting President of Avalon Beach RSL Drew Martin gave the Prologue for the 11 a.m. Commemorative Service.


Prolougue - Drew Martin

Before I commence, I wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we are conducting today's ceremony, the Garigal People, and pay my respects to the elders past, present and future, for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and the hopes of Indigenous Australia.

This day, April 25th,marks the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli. Like hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens, who gather at memorials in cities, suburbs and towns across Australia, we have come here to Commemorate one of the most significant events in our national calendar.

We are here today to pay tribute to all Australian, Commonwealth and Allied Service Men and Women whether n uniform or not,who served and are still serving and who supported their country in its time of need and especially those who paid the supreme sacrifice. 

We are also here to acknowledge the support of the families and the community without whom such service could not be possible.

Today, a new generation of our soldiers,airmen and sailors are serving in troubled locations including for example, Afghanistan and Iraq. It is now longstanding tradition that on ANZAC Day we all pause to remember those that offered up their life in the defence of their nation and community, which is the greatest contribution any citizen can make. This tradition is as relevant today as it was when our troops landed on the beaches of Gallipoli in 1915. We only have to recall those Australians who have died or been injured in recent years on operations overseas and within Australia, to protect Australia and its national interests.

Future generations need to be reminded that happiness has a price. For surely if happiness is the product of freedom, then freedom is the reward of courage. We should be grateful to those that have helped preserve our nation and way of life through their sacrifice. In doing so, we keep bright the memory of those lives. It is in the remembrance of these things that communities across the nation on this day.

The Avalon Beach Sub-Branch welcomes you,the community and our visiting V.I.P.s;

  • Mr.Jason Falinski,MP for Mackellar
  • Ms Jennifer Wittwer CSM RAN Rtd.- who will be presenting our Commemoration Adress today
  • Chief Inspector Steve McCormack - Northern Beaches Police Local Area Command

We especially welcome all those who participated in today's March. The Sub-Branch is part of the community and endorses the community's aprticpatuion in recognition of ANZAC spirit with past and present veterans, family members, relatives and friends and we are proud to see the heritage continue through the community children's and youth groups that are here today. Those being:

Pittwater House Schools Army Cadet Unit for the Catafalque Party and Honour Guard

Our local schools - Primary schools being Avalon Public, Bilgola Plateau Primary, Newport Public School and Maria Regina Catholic and Barrenjoey High School and their school band, conducted by Mr. Joshua Hughes

  • The Avalon Junior Rugby League Club
  • The Avalon Beach Surf Life Saving Club
  • Avalon Soccer Club
  • Bayview Scouts
  • Avalon Beach Bowling Club
  • Avalon Beach RSL Fishing Club
  • Avalon Beach RSL Golf Club
  • The Zonta Club of the Northern Beaches
  • The Pittwater Friends of Soibada
  • The Rotary Club of the Upper Northern Beaches

ANZAC Memorial days do not just happen and without people like those of you here, there can be no ANZAC Memorial days. SDo again, welcome to you, the community.


Mr. Martin is Acting President for this year's Services as Captain Michael Maley CSC DSM, President of Avalon Beach RSL Sub Branch, is a serving member and is currently posted overseas. He sent a message to the community, read by Tamara Sloper-Harding, in which he thanked all for the Care Packages that have been sent, thanked them for their attendance and hoped they were all enjoying lots of egg and bacon rolls that day or even a sausage sandwich.

As stated above by Mr. Martin, this year's Commemorative Address was given by Jennifer Wittwer CSM RAN Rtd.

Ms Wittwer is an internationally and nationally acclaimed keynote speaker and published writer on gender equality and women’s participation in the security and defence sector. She is a mentor and coach to women and girls. For m,any of us who have looked deeper into her work or read her writings, Ms Wittwer stands as Beacon.

Coming from thirty seven years in the Australian military, including working with international organisations and armed forces, she has experience in leadership, organisational change, large-scale cultural and workplace reform, and implementing contemporary and  people-oriented and gender-responsive policy strategies and policy solutions.

Her 2019 Anzac Day Address for the community runs below.

Given by Jennifer Wittwer CSM, RAN Rtd.

Please let me extend to you a warm welcome to this 2019 Anzac Day commemoration.

I would like to thank Tamara Sloper Harding OAM, Vice President Avalon Beach RSL Sub Branch, for her invitation to me to provide this address.  This is particularly relevant as I believe I am the first female military veteran to do so.  I stand here proudly before you after 37 years’ service in the Royal Australian Navy.  

I stand here proudly wearing my own medals for deployment in Afghanistan, for many years work with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the United Nations, for conspicuous service in my duties, and in recognition of my lengthy career overall.

Anzac Day has come to mean many things to different people.  At its very core is the recognition of thousands of Australian women and men who have given their service, and sometimes their lives, to defend this great nation. As a woman I must particularly highlight the service of women, at least since WW1, and women who lost their lives in major wars.  

Women, who have, in recent years, deployed to conflicts overseas and served in a myriad of roles once closed to them.  Women who have died in training and regional operations.  Women who have had to defend their right to wear their medals on the left.  These are women who have, and continue to embody, the Anzac spirit, and given as selflessly and proudly as any men before her.

That said, we are a collective group, and we stand together, sisters and brothers in arms.

We are gathered here to honour the memory of those gallant men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to their country. 

By your presence here I know thereis no doubt in your hearts and your minds that today is especially significant. In cities and towns throughout Australia and overseas, ceremonies like this are a permanent reminder that our ANZACs thought this wonderful country of ours was worth fighting and dying for. 

I have often thought that perhaps the term ‘ANZAC’ has been misunderstood. It is not a place, nor is it a campaign or a war. It is not a ceremony or a parade either. The term ANZAC comes from the words Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. 

The term ANZAC has transcended the physical meaning to become a spirit – an inspiration that embodies the qualities of courage, discipline, sacrifice, self-reliance and in Australian terms, that of mateship and a fair go. 

These days we do not glorify war. All we ask is the simple recognition of the sacrifice, commitment and unselfish devotion by those men and women who served so valiantly for their country and what they believed in, so much so that many knowingly went to their deaths. 

We pause today to acknowledge all current and former members of our defence forces – the brave men and women who represent our country on a daily basis. No Australian is left untouched when a member of our defence force is killed. 

It is difficult to comprehend the grief associated with the loss, in a conflict, of a parent, partner, child or sibling. We must also ensure that we remember the families of those who serve. 

We have seen our personnel serve in Australia and overseas carrying on the spirit of ANZAC. We must not forget today’s veterans’, the young men and women who have returned from duty in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste. 

ANZAC Day is a day to remember all men and women of the Australian Defence Force, regardless of the time, and conflict, in which they served. 

On ANZAC Day we pay tribute to all current and former members of the Australian Defence Force, those lost in training, on operations, the wounded, injured and ill. Even those who have subsequently died as a result of mental health injuries after their return from a conflict zone. 

No one death is felt any less because of their circumstances. They are all victims of war.

So, I say this today, and particularly to our younger generations, do not let what we have forged through the ANZAC spirit be lost to indifference or a lack of responsibility. 

The fundamental purpose of today has been, and should continue to be, to pay homage to our veterans and those who gave their lives. In doing so, we ensure a recognition by our youth that peace and freedom have always required a sacrifice in the past. 

Those we honour have left to Australia, a legacy and tradition of courage, selflessness and a fine reputation to follow for the future. 

This morning I would like to talk about three aspects of ANZAC day. 

  • Why we commemorate ANZAC day on the 25th April; 
  • What the name of the day represents; and 
  • The nature of the ANZAC legacy. 

To the date firstly.

April 25 is of course the anniversary of the day Australian troops landed at Gallipoliin 1915. However, this event in isolation doesn’t seem enough to make this date significant. Gallipoli was not the first time that Australians had been in battle and it was by no means an outstanding success. 

Australians had previously fought in the Maori wars, had deployed to Sudan in 1885, and had fought again in the Boer war between 1899 and 1902. Gallipoli was not even an Australian battle, for we landed and fought alongside troops from New Zealand, Britain, France and Newfoundland. 

So why have we chosen April 25? 

What made Gallipoli different for Australia was that it was the first major battle we Australians fought as a nation. Soldiers from every state of the newly federated Australia volunteered and fought. What seared itself into our national soul was the sheer scale of casualties. 

Gallipoli lasted eight and a half months. In that time 7,600 Australians and 2,500 New Zealanders were killed; 24,000 were wounded. Gallipoli was a battle we lost, and people still ask why we celebrate defeat. 

The answer is, I believe, that in commemorating ANZAC day we never set out to celebrate victory. Had we wanted to, we had plenty of other opportunities in our military heritage. 

After Gallipoli, Australians won many famous battles in France, Flanders and Palestine in the Great War, and in North Africa, the Middle East, the south west Pacific, in the air and at sea in subsequent wars. 

We should not forget Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam in which Australians fought with distinction. And the more modern conflicts in Timor Leste, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. But, to return to my point, 

April 25th is not about military victory. As a people we chose a day when loss of war first scarred the conscience of a young nation. The loss was felt across the whole community and it was a tragedy we can all associate with. 

My second point about ANZAC concerns the very term, ANZAC day. If you think about it, ANZAC is not a battle, and ANZAC is not a place. ANZAC is a collective noun for a group of people. 

Thus, ANZAC day gives us as a nation the opportunity to think as individuals, ordinary Australians serving the nation in times when we as a democracy have seen our land or interests threatened to such a degree that it has been necessary for us to go to war. 

We think of those who served. Those who joined together to make the formidable fighting and support forces that Australia was and still is proud of. We salute their fellowship and courage. 

We think of the families, those who stayed behind. They battled their own problems in tough war times and supported those who fought. We salute their endurance and strength. We think of the prisoners and wounded - those who still suffer today. 

Above all, on ANZAC day, we honour those who died for us, for our nation Australia and for peace. 

But what of the ANZAC legacy?

The fact that ANZAC day is a day for the people is evident in the way we mark it. It is not a day of military parades and power. It is a day of gatherings of veterans, or reunions, of services, of community involvement, of reflection and honouring our forebears. 

If we do celebrate anything on ANZAC day it is the legacy that those who fought at ANZAC gave us, and those who followed them, strengthened and enriched. 

In the face of adversity, the ANZACs demonstrated beyond any doubt the necessary military virtues of duty, courage, teamwork, resolution and self-sacrifice. 

But to these they added a few unique qualities of their own; mateship, trust, a discipline based on earned respect and not assumed worth, initiative, resourcefulness, wry humour and, what is often forgotten, a respect for the courage and capability of friend and foe alike. 

The excellent and unique reputation surrounding ANZAC survives today in our armed forces. 

ANZAC day is a great Australian and New Zealand tradition. It is celebrated all over the two nations and wherever Australians are overseas. It is our day - a day to remember with affection the courage of people and the value of friendship - to honour the dead and to acknowledge those who suffer still from the effects of war. 

We do not celebrate victory or glorify war - we celebrate the human spirit - the spirit of ANZAC. 

Thank you.

Jennifer Wittwer CSM, RAN Rtd.

Pittwater RSL Dawn Service 2019

This video is for anyone that wasn’t able to make the beautiful dawn service at Pittwater RSL. An amazing ANZAC Address from Chief Petty Officer Zamri Burns. 

Zamri is a Kiwi by birth and a CPO in the Royal Australian Navy. He is the Senior Specialist Underwater Medic based at HMAS Penguin and a qualified paramedic. 

Zamri is deploying to Afghanistan in July for 9 months and he will be on the front-line. 

Thank you for your Service Zamri.


Anzac Day causes us to pause and reflect on the sacrifice made by those that came before us so that we can live in peace and freedom. Our military, and thus our nation, is tied to Timor Leste in far deeper ways than most of us know. Australia has had links with not just the country, but with the town of Soibada, since WW2. Australian soldiers were deployed to what was then the neutral island of Portuguese Timor to deter the enemy forces invading from the North and to prevent them landing in Darwin. If our troops were not already in Timor their foe would never have assaulted the island. Regardless, the people of Timor protected our soldiers from the attackers. Young Australians were hidden in dirt floored homes made of palm leaves and in Portuguese stone churches. The women nursed their wounds and the men provided food. Timorese boys, known as Criados, mostly between 10 and 16 years of age, escorted the Aussies through the jungle to safety.  

from Debt of Honour- Rex Lipman

When it became necessary for Australia to evacuate our men we promised to stand by our friends in Timor. We guaranteed to be there for them always. Australia would never forget our friends. Leaflets in Portuguese were dropped from aircraft making false promises. The Aussie soldiers knew that the Timorese would pay dearly for protecting them. Many soldiers tried to bring their saviours to safety on Australian shores. In reprisal over 40,000 Timorese people were slaughtered by the enemy. 

The current Parish Priest in Soibada, Father Tiago, has regaled us with stories of his grandfather’s clandestine work with Australian soldiers during the war, in the jungle near Soibada. Many of the families in the village had relatives entrenched in the secret network protecting our troops. Australia has a debt to Timor Leste – a debt we left owing when they were again invaded in 1975. We stood by as neighbours doing nothing to stop the slaughter of over 200,000 Timorese people by the occupying  forces. It was not until 1999 when we sent our troops as part of the peace making force that we came close to living up to our promises of steadfast friendship and protection…

It is now, here in our community, in our clubs and in our schools, as we give assistance to those in Soibada that we begin, little by little, to fulfil our pledge of friendship and aid.

Tamara Sloper-Harding OAM

Anzac Day 2019 In Pictures

A Pittwater Online News album of the 11 a.m. Avalon Beach RSL Sub-Branch for those who would like keepsakes for their own family albums is available here

A few from both Commemorative Services run below.

John Seaton MBE and Mrs. Barbara Seaton

Serving RAN Members Glen Norton and Ian McGiffen who gave the 2018 Anzac Day Address

Report by A J Guesdon.