April  26 - May 2, 2020: Issue 447


Anzac Day In Pittwater 2020: Candles, Crosses And Online Commemorative Services

Left to right: Vice President of Avalon Beach RSL Tamara Sloper Harding OAM, Robert Johnson, Director of Johnson Brothers Mitre 10, former NSW Police Snr. Constable Lisa Hewitt, President of Pittwater RSL and Pittwater Woman of the Year 2017, Deborah Carter, Lieutenant Commander Ryan Carmichael RAN Retd.

Thousands of families paid their respects to those who have served and serve still at dawn and in 9am and 11am street events for Anzac Day 2020.

Plans to mark the day despite the closure of public spaces and bans against gatherings commenced in March with RSL NSW encouraging all Australians to honour the service and sacrifice of our brave servicemen and women past and present, but in a different way than we are used to.

“Traditional dawn services and marches are just not possible this year” said RSL NSW Acting State President, Ray James. “But during these difficult and uncertain times, it is vital that we stay true to our values of mateship and camaraderie; that we honour our service personnel and show our ANZAC Spirit.”

In support of these qualities, RSL NSW joined other State Branches of the RSL in encouraging Australians to stand together even though we’re apart, by taking part in a collective Dawn Service, standing at the end of your driveway or on your balcony at 6am on ANZAC Day and ’Light Up the Dawn’, while Pittwater’s own James Morrison called on all musicians to sound their bugles, trumpets, cornets, horns, saxaphones, flutes and drums with the Last Post and Reveille. 

This initiative saw children making Anzac Day themed art to place on their homes and fences, Lisa Hewitt of Avalon Beach was helped by a team of people to make white crosses to place at driveways, and ended up making 927, those helping including Therese Rushby, of Mater Maria Warriewood for the first 150 crosses, then all her cross makers; Michael Dick, Ian Squires, Daniel Elliott and Chris Elliott, Marty, Eli, Hugh and Rachel Mulholland, Craig, Samantha Womersley, and Mishy, Kelly Lee Schott Ryder, Sonny and Tex, Annie Finn, Dianne Cutrie and Eliza Cutrie and Rebecca Billing painting, and her daughter Ellie Woollard for nailing over 200 crosses together for. 

Attached to these were knitted and crocheted poppies knitted by people from all over our area with Tamara Sloper Harding OAM, of Avalon Beach RSL Sub-Branch organising the sound of many crochet and knitting needles flying and getting these to Lisa. 

These crosses were then distributed through her own home, Cocoa Bar at Newport and the Bilgola Delicatessen, with Lisa asking for a $10 donation to be put towards PTSD Veterans. Some even went to rural areas where Lisa, supported by our community, had done a Christmas Hampers Food Drive in December 2019:

Cumnock RSL Gates lined with the beautiful crosses sent from the amazing Lisa Hewitt and her community- We cannot thank you enough an we love and appreciate the time and effort put into this project.. a million Thank you's from Cumnock - photo by Rhonda Watt 

The Johnson family of Johnson Bros Mitre 10, partnered with the Avalon Beach and Pittwater RSL Sub Branch’s to get local households to light up the dawn this ANZAC Day by providing over twenty thousand free candles available to pick up from their Mona Vale and Avalon Beach stores.

Looking at a way to show his respect this Anzac Day and to participate in the RSL’s “Light Up The Dawn” campaign, Michael Jonson was initially looking at personally supplying candles to his street in Mona Vale. 

“In the end, it didn’t feel like I was doing enough” said Mr Johnson, a Director of Johnson Brothers Mitre 10. After speaking with his brothers, the family agreed to the business providing a more substantial amount free to the community – 20 thousand candles. To make sure that it was done in a respectful way, Michael reached out to the Avalon Beach and Pittwater RSL Sub-Branches. 

Michael Johnson, Director of Johnson Brothers Mitre 10

In addition to their support, the sub-branches also generously volunteered some of their funds. The candles were distributed across the Northern Beaches by the sub-branches and available for free pick up from Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Avalon and Mona Vale and came with a flyer detailing how to participate in the RSL’s “Light Up The Dawn” campaign. 

The result was that over twenty thousand candles could be lit up on Saturday morning from this distribution alone.

At 9am in Warriewood a lone bagpiper marched through the suburb, bringing families to within cooee of each other.

The Scotland Island and offshore community Anzac Day service that has been running for more than 40 years went ahead with Ian White MCing an Anzac Day Service at 11am that was live streamed. Local trumpeter Harley Ratcliff played The Last Post and Reveille. 

Also at 11am WWII Veteran and Pittwater RSL ‘Living Treasure’ Tommy Knox of Bangalow Avenue Mona Vale jumped aboard his motorised scooter to do a one man parade down the street for the residents, with bagpipe player Toby Forde, playing. Organised by his grandchildren, the 95 year old was cheered and thanked from the kerbside by residents. 

A little about Tommy from the 'Pittwater RSL 'Living Treasures' booklet and photos from his Bangalow Street Mona Vale Parade - organised by his granddaughters : - photos by Michael Mannington.

Born February 9, 1925 
Service No. 1823036 
Royal Air Force - Warrant Officer. 
Bomber Command, Parachute Instructor 
1939-1945  Star with Bomber Command Clasp; France and Germany Star; 
1939-1945 War Medal; GSM Palestine; Legion of Honour (France) 

I was born in Scotland, and at the age of 18 years, enlisted in the Air Force in 1943. I served in the UK and Palestine. I trained as a flight engineer at 4 School of Technical training in South Wales. I joined the crew at 1657 Conversion Unit at Stradishall, Suffolk. The crew consisted of two Australians, two Canadians, two English and me. We moved to 149 Sqn Lakenheath, Suffolk on 15 March 1944.

We were flying Stirlings on special duties. First op was on 31 March 1944, mining Frisian Islands, subsequent ops included bombing, more mining and low level moonlit trips to supply the French Resistance fighters. I transferred to 199 Sqn in September 1944 when 149 converted to Lancasters. 199 did diversionary raids over Germany – we took on another crew member to operate the special radio jamming gear. We did our last op on 11 November 1944, having completed a tour of 40 trips. The crew split up. Posted to 30 M.U. at Sealand, Cheshire as a Draughtsman. The war in Europe finished when I was there and I decided to have a go at parachuting, so after doing a PTIS course, I did my first jump from a balloon in February 1946 and finished up training paratroopers in Palestine. I demobilised on 23 February 1947.

With son Tom

With Piper Toby Forde

Tommy passing the Twinami family (on ute)

From Narrabeen Lagoon to Elanora and Bilgola Heights and out to the Palm Beach, candles, poppies, wreaths laid at all RSL cenotaphs and crosses as well as original made tributes demonstrate that Pittwater Remembers them.

Calls for photos to be sent in to be part of this years coverage have been accompanied by comments such as: 

Thank you to whomever it was playing the last post - heard Heath St MV

The echoing last post from the neighbours houses! Hauntingly beautiful! Careel Bay

I was on a boat moored at Paradise beach and there was a bugler on the wharf was so beautiful with people standing outside their homes. Very special

The turn out this morning on Ocean Street Narrabeen was so heartening to see

To the trumpet player on Kalang Road this morning – you were outstanding, thank you!

Quite haunting waking this morning to the sounds of the birds then to many locals playing the last post. It echoed around our hillside like a round (Elanora Heights). Different players slightly out of synch. I heard cornets, trumpets, clarinet, bugle, sax, trombone, and a bagpipe! I love when community displays creativity and solidarity and this morning was one of those magical moments. Lest we forget.

It is one we will talk about forever.

At Clareville - photo by Janet Forrester 

At Lisle Street, Narrabeen - photo by Sandra Lee Walsh 

Roger Sayers' grandson Josh played the Last Post at 6am Newport - photo sent in by his very proud grandfather

At Palm Beach - photo by Sally Akehurst

Driveway Light Up the Dawn at Mona Vale - Mark Horton - 'On my chest to the left of the other medals is the Greek Commemorative medal awarded to my father Pat Horton' 

Nullaburra Rd Newport Memorial - photo by Sue Evers

Neil Evers giving Welcome to Country, Nullaburra Rd Newport Memorial - photo by Sue Evers

Reading The Ode, Nullaburra Rd Newport Memorial - photo by Sue Evers

Neighbour recounting her father's war experience, Nullaburra Rd Newport Memorial - photo by Sue Evers

Avalon Beach SLSC members, Bilgola Plateau- photo sent in by Roger Sayers

''Neighbours from 3 households on Barrenjoey Rd Newport'' - photo by and courtesy of the Ealbers family.

Donna of Avalon Beach, Anzac Day 2020 -  photo by Joanne Seve 

So strong an impact has the Light the Dawn and Sound the Last Post, and Reveille throughout all streets been that many have expressed a wish for a similar Marking of Respect at driveways and outside homes next year as well, even with a return to Commemorative Services at Dawn and 11am. 

Our state and federal representatives have marked the occasion too - from The Hon. Rob Stokes:

Anzac Day will be very different this year – but the Anzac spirit is as important as ever.

The world is in a struggle, and communities across Australia are united in an effort to combat COVID-19.

As we pause to reflect, we remember the sacrifice of all those, past and present, who have put themselves at risk to protect our way of life and the freedoms we enjoy.

Anzac Day is always a special day where we can thank our veterans, and it’s also an opportunity for veterans to stay connected with each other.

Whilst this will be more difficult this Anzac Day, always remember how valued you are, and how grateful our community is.

Lest we forget.

Rob Stokes MP
Member for Pittwater 


Jason Falinski – MP for Mackellar:  


We join together today to commemorate and pay tribute to those who have loyally and devotedly sacrificed their lives in all the conflicts of war, to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy today.

Never in the 105 years since the Allied forces landed at Gallipoli on what is now known as Anzac Cove, have Australians been asked to summon the stoic resolve, courage and fortitude displayed by these soldiers in our current fight with an unseen enemy.

It is well known that the Allied mission to capture Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany, was tragically met with failure. With an underestimation of the Ottoman military potential and a sense of superiority among the Allies, just before dawn on this day, in 1915, Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the shores of Gallipoli.

The half-light of dawn was favoured, a time when troops were awake, alert and manning their weapons, known as the ‘stand to’. What began as a bold strike ended in a devastating and bloody stalemate that lasted for eight long months.

56,707 Allied troops lost their lives, including 8,709 from Australia and 2,721 from New Zealand, with 302,000 Allied casualties and 250,000 from the Ottoman Empire.

This was the first campaign of the First World War that led to major casualties for our troops, and the defeat had a profound effect on people at home, becoming a symbolic day on which we remember and commemorate our war dead. It has been considered that this event was the beginning of Australian and New Zealand national consciousness.

Nowadays, ANZAC Day goes well beyond the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli in 1915. It is a day on which we remember and pay tribute to all Australians who have served and died in the various theatres of war, past and present. It has become a symbol for values which Australians so highly treasure; those of mate ship, courage, sacrifice and stoic duty.

Our commemorative services date back to the first Anzac Day in 1916, organised by Queensland Canon David Garland as a non-denominational commemoration by the whole of society, and the date 25th April was then etched in our history. Despite interest waning in the 1960’s and 70’s, Prime Minister’s Hawke and Howard were staunch supporters of the importance of remembrance, and today we are particularly pleased to see younger Australians embrace with reverence and respect, those who have paved the way before us, defending the life we so highly cherish.

Dawn services, the playing of the Last Post and two minutes of silence are a powerful moment for Australians of all cultures and age groups to reflect on the strength and values of those who served. Marches allow troops and later generations to wear the medals of service and bravery and to honour family who so selflessly protected our freedoms.

Lieutenant Colonel and later Turkish President Kemul Ataturk, who oversaw the Ottoman forces at Gallipoli, delivered these words at a memorial in 1934, to the first Australians, New Zealanders and British to visit the battlefields.

You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries, Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace
after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.

Today we stop and turn off our busy lives, reflect on the sacrifice of others, pause to consider those around us and how we can serve, and find within ourselves the stoic strength of character to endure our current crisis.

The inscription on the wall of the Sir John Monash Centre in the grounds of the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in northern France perfectly sums up the heritage of ANZAC.

It reads,

Anzac is not merely about loss.
It is about courage and endurance, and duty, and love of country,
and mateship, and good humour, and the survival of a
sense of self worth and decency in the face of dreadful odds.

To all the men and women who have served our nation, there is little we can say that fully reflects our gratitude and our debt to you, because of you we live in a free and fair nation. In a world where right is might, not the other way round, and so instead we simply say: Lest we Forget.

Delivered via video posted online on ANZAC Day – screenshot from video of Mackellar MP Jason Falinski

Avalon Beach RSL Sub Branch also organised an online Service for Dawn, prefaced by:

We cannot be with each other this year for Anzac Day so the Sub Branch put together this service with some beautiful memories of years past in Avalon. Thank you to Michael Maley, Robbie Adams, Ryan Carmichael, Lynn Murphy, Sam Shaw, Phil Ivey, Sacred Heart Primary School, Lisa Hewitt and all the ladies who made the poppies.

Samantha Shaw sang a wonderful rendition of 'Hallelujah' for the Avalon Beach RSL Sub-Branch virtual Service - behind her, Pat Flynn played the Last Post and Reville on Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach for surrounding neighbours

Some Of The Wonderful Tributes Photos Sent In – Our Sincere Thanks To All Who Have Contributed To The 2020 Version Of Anzac Day In Pittwater:

Anzac day in Kalinya Street Newport ‘ Was very moving.... with many out in quiet huddles, as the sound of the last post reverberated... - Photo by Jim Langford.

Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach - Dick Harris
Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach - the Harding Family with a special tribute to Commodore Graham Sloper AM RANR - passed away on the evening of December 4, 2016
Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach - the Marsh family
Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach - Lisa Hewitt and neighbour Stuart

Barrenjoey Road, Avalon Beach

John street, Avalon Beach – Brian Friend OAM wearing his Uncles (my father's brother who was in Changi prison) medals. ‘’They were given to me by the family as he could not have children. I wear them with pride for a man who died too young.’’

Elaine Avenue, Avalon Beach - the Tiernan family:  their son is an Army Reservist and Cadets Volunteer at Dee Why, and their daughter is a cadets member of 201 Cadets Unit at Dee Why.

Photo by and Courtesy Debbie Tiernan

Elaine Avenue, Avalon Beach - the Menage family
Warren Young OAM and sister Rosalind Carr, Avalon Beach

Chalk Drawing at Warriewood – photo and creation by Kara Sargent and family + 9am one of our residents is walking our street with bagpipes with everyone standing on their driveways. We live in an estate in Warriewood with about 35 ish townhouses. Photos by Kara Sargent

Anzac Day at Whale Beach – photo by Christine Roberts
Ariel Moss Anzac Day Dawn Service, Avalon Public School Senior Band   - photo by Mel Moss

At Newport Beach - photo by Sonja Elwood
Kalinda Hawson Avalon Beach SLSC Anzac Day 2020
Avalon Parade, Avalon Beach - photo by Joanne Seve
Anzac Day at Careel Bay - Carter Family Tribute.