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In photos: Anzac Day Dawn Service 2015

Michelle Doherty 27 April 2015 37

For the 120,000 people in attendance at this morning’s Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial, Anzac Day began at around 3am (perhaps even earlier for those keen to get a good seat). 

As the dawn rose just after 5:30am, I joined the thousands gathered at the Australian War Memorial to commemorate the 2015,100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.  It was a moving and beautiful ceremony and I was impressed that in a crowd that large, people walked slowly, made way for others and nodded silently to each other in the slow procession into the memorial or as they headed off to breakfast.

Earlier in the week I had heard a random advertisement asking people to celebrate Anzac day and I thought, surely they must mean commemorate? No matter how much bling Anzac Day gets, it does not take away that among or outside the crowds there is a father that misses his brother and a cousin who didn’t get to know his father the way I knew mine.  I do not know what my Great Great Uncle who travelled from Bendigo to Belgium only to be buried next to a beautiful cornfield in Ypres at 35 years of age, who wrote poetic letters home in the  beautiful handwriting, would make of a celebratory all-you-can-eat Anzac buffet?

I hope these images represent respectfully the way we commemorate Anzac Day and that the people I saw there today remember that this is one of the ways we publicly acknowledge what we cannot remember, but do not celebrate or glorify.

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37 Responses to In photos: Anzac Day Dawn Service 2015
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Michelle Doherty Michelle Doherty 4:52 pm 28 Apr 15

dungfungus said :

Ian Warden in Gang Gang, Canberra Times today, greatly disputes the 120,000 AWM attendance also.

Oh well, I am sure there was no-one there with a people counting device. In any case, what a beautiful service and a respectful, amazing crowd! And thank goodness it did not rain until later.

Michelle Doherty Michelle Doherty 4:50 pm 28 Apr 15

Milly Withers said :

Great photos Michelle!

Thank you so much Milly. It was a beautiful morning, doing what I love. So glad you enjoyed the images.

dungfungus dungfungus 3:10 pm 28 Apr 15

Ian Warden in Gang Gang, Canberra Times today, greatly disputes the 120,000 AWM attendance also.

Milly Withers Milly Withers 9:40 am 28 Apr 15

Great photos Michelle!

rubaiyat rubaiyat 7:28 am 28 Apr 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

You missed the point. 120,000 were able to get there no problem…

Only because most of them used buses and didn’t bring their cars.

The problem is we now have a considerable population, but only an ageing fleet of 420 buses and no real transport system to get people around the major attractions in the heart of Canberra.

justsomeaussie justsomeaussie 6:32 am 28 Apr 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

Wouldn’t it be nice to see the proceeds of the parking fines go toward something else apart from the government’s pocket, such as helping war widows or funding to help returned service people cope with life after the military?

Nice sentiment but governments are more interested in spending millions on commerating ANZACs from 100 years ago than funding today’s veterans and veteran community.

This book highlights it perfectly.

http://www.blackincbooks.com/books/anzacs-long-shadow

That it’s easier to build monuments to the long dead than to acknowledge failures of the current system.

But back to parking, surely we want to encourage less people to drive to the dawn service in general? That if we can get people in and out easily on buses it will help with congestion and jams and will help reduce the risk of an accident of people parking on verges in the dark.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 3:48 am 28 Apr 15

Even better, an amnesty on chainsaws to clear the area around the AWM so we can get all the cars in.

After the obligatory period where it is all turned into a dustbowl, we can seal the open space and add metered parking.

Then after another decent period of morning for our dearly departed vegetation, we can build underground parking with offices over.

The Circle of Life, Canberra Style.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 6:39 pm 27 Apr 15

Masquara said :

justsomeaussie said :

The solution doesn’t have to be rocket science. Just have a no personal vehicle driving zone on specific roads between 5am till 7am. That will let people drive and walk to the AWM and busses arrive easily then after the service finishes at 6:15 the buses can move freely for 45 minutes clearing the crowds and people in cars just have to wait till 7am.

Better still: an amnesty on parking fines down the Limestone Ave median strip and along Parkes Way, and an informal parking fee of $10 (collected in buckets by volunteers) with the proceeds to go to the RSL. The NCA’s claims that there are “safety issues” with illegal parking for such an occasion are nonsense. Any minor “safety issue” is more than countered by the convenience for 120,000 attendees.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see the proceeds of the parking fines go toward something else apart from the government’s pocket, such as helping war widows or funding to help returned service people cope with life after the military?

Alexandra Craig Alexandra Craig 5:56 pm 27 Apr 15

Masquara said :

justsomeaussie said :

The solution doesn’t have to be rocket science. Just have a no personal vehicle driving zone on specific roads between 5am till 7am. That will let people drive and walk to the AWM and busses arrive easily then after the service finishes at 6:15 the buses can move freely for 45 minutes clearing the crowds and people in cars just have to wait till 7am.

Better still: an amnesty on parking fines down the Limestone Ave median strip and along Parkes Way, and an informal parking fee of $10 (collected in buckets by volunteers) with the proceeds to go to the RSL. The NCA’s claims that there are “safety issues” with illegal parking for such an occasion are nonsense. Any minor “safety issue” is more than countered by the convenience for 120,000 attendees.

Yeah, but if you did this then people will just assume “oh we parked there for the Anzac Day dawn service so we can park there for Skyfire/Floriade etc etc”

I don’t know if it’s a minor safety issue though, people getting out of cars parked in the middle of the road would be in danger of being hit by a car coming up onto the median strip, kids would be more at risk to walk out onto the road etc

Masquara Masquara 5:23 pm 27 Apr 15

justsomeaussie said :

The solution doesn’t have to be rocket science. Just have a no personal vehicle driving zone on specific roads between 5am till 7am. That will let people drive and walk to the AWM and busses arrive easily then after the service finishes at 6:15 the buses can move freely for 45 minutes clearing the crowds and people in cars just have to wait till 7am.

Better still: an amnesty on parking fines down the Limestone Ave median strip and along Parkes Way, and an informal parking fee of $10 (collected in buckets by volunteers) with the proceeds to go to the RSL. The NCA’s claims that there are “safety issues” with illegal parking for such an occasion are nonsense. Any minor “safety issue” is more than countered by the convenience for 120,000 attendees.

justsomeaussie justsomeaussie 3:29 pm 27 Apr 15

Getting to the AWM via bus was easy, getting out was a disaster with the first two busses leaving easily but as soon as the public got on the roads they caused traffic jams that blocked the busses. After 45 minutes of waiting and not seeing a single bus we just walked to Russell outselves.

The solution doesn’t have to be rocket science. Just have a no personal vehicle driving zone on specific roads between 5am till 7am. That will let people drive and walk to the AWM and busses arrive easily then after the service finishes at 6:15 the buses can move freely for 45 minutes clearing the crowds and people in cars just have to wait till 7am.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 2:49 pm 27 Apr 15

rubaiyat said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

If they had enough buses to get people there, why weren’t the same number of buses used to get them back again?

Maybe because they could only persuade so may bus drivers to get up before 4am and work a double shift on the Public Holiday that everyone else was enjoying?

Better if they had all driven 120,000 cars to the service and parked around the War Memorial. Eh, wildturkeycanoe? 😉

You missed the point. 120,000 were able to get there no problem but had troubles getting home again, unless of course many camped overnight to get the best spots. Was it the number of buses though, the destinations or simply how long it took to get on one? This I don’t know.
Perhaps the people in cars were the winners, as the public transport system [designed to transport the masses] has let so many down.

Michelle Doherty Michelle Doherty 2:42 pm 27 Apr 15

dungfungus said :

Michelle Doherty said :

Masquara said :

Shane Rattenbury claims that the attendance estimate was 50,000 and that’s why he didn’t put enough buses on, stranding thousands of people.

I heard the same. I don’t think anyone expected 120,000. What tremendous support for Anzac100 and yes,it was a shame that people seemed to get mucked around by the lack of buses. A few people I chatted to didn’t seem to mind the wait. When you think of what our soldiers went through I guess a wait for a bus, pales in comparison. The people I chatted to were in good cheer. I think the sausage sizzles helped. But I agree it would have been frustrating for some. I parked a kilometer away and lugged my camera gear up there.

I know that I will get howled down for saying this but I think the 120,000 crowd is a lot more than were there.
That many people represents one third of the population of Canberra and take into account that it was a long weekend with school holidays still going (a lot of Canberrans were out of town is what I am saying).
It would take over 1,000 ACTION buses to move that many people.
ANZAC day is a personal commemoration for many people so we shouldn’t measure its “success” by the number of people that attend.

I don’t think you’ll get howled down for disagreeing with a number. Though I think a lot of people actually came into Canberra for the Anzac100 service. Whether there were 50,000 or 120,000 I think the “success” of the event lies in the quiet nods of respect, the sea of torch light and red poppies, the amazing silence before the service, and the efforts of countless volunteers and staff.

As for the buses. I think the same number arrived and departed and no one could have predicted that kind of turnout. I know of at least 400 drivers who parked on the median strip (as many have taken to Facebook to vent their frustrations about getting fined) Lots of cars where I was parked (legally) too and heaps of bike traffic and walkers which was great to see!

All in all, it was a lovely service and respectful gathering.

Michelle Doherty Michelle Doherty 2:28 pm 27 Apr 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

If they had enough buses to get people there, why weren’t the same number of buses used to get them back again?
It was my first ever dawn service and I was absolutely amazed at the ability of over 100k people to actually remain quiet so one could hear the reading of the letters. I for one am very proud of the attendees ability to remain so respectful for the duration of events. Well done Canberra, you showed the ANZACs that what they fought for was worth fighting for.

I agree, it was a beautiful service and the observation of silence of that many people was amazing.

dungfungus dungfungus 11:22 am 27 Apr 15

Michelle Doherty said :

Masquara said :

Shane Rattenbury claims that the attendance estimate was 50,000 and that’s why he didn’t put enough buses on, stranding thousands of people.

I heard the same. I don’t think anyone expected 120,000. What tremendous support for Anzac100 and yes,it was a shame that people seemed to get mucked around by the lack of buses. A few people I chatted to didn’t seem to mind the wait. When you think of what our soldiers went through I guess a wait for a bus, pales in comparison. The people I chatted to were in good cheer. I think the sausage sizzles helped. But I agree it would have been frustrating for some. I parked a kilometer away and lugged my camera gear up there.

I know that I will get howled down for saying this but I think the 120,000 crowd is a lot more than were there.
That many people represents one third of the population of Canberra and take into account that it was a long weekend with school holidays still going (a lot of Canberrans were out of town is what I am saying).
It would take over 1,000 ACTION buses to move that many people.
ANZAC day is a personal commemoration for many people so we shouldn’t measure its “success” by the number of people that attend.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 11:22 am 27 Apr 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

If they had enough buses to get people there, why weren’t the same number of buses used to get them back again?

Maybe because they could only persuade so may bus drivers to get up before 4am and work a double shift on the Public Holiday that everyone else was enjoying?

Better if they had all driven 120,000 cars to the service and parked around the War Memorial. Eh, wildturkeycanoe? 😉

gazket gazket 10:47 am 27 Apr 15

wildturkeycanoe said :

If they had enough buses to get people there, why weren’t the same number of buses used to get them back again?

100 Action buses didn’t turn up and drop everyone off at the same time. There would of been massive line up for the bus to leave. With the huge attendance It would of took the 1st buses 1/2 an hour to get down Limestone Ave.

Michelle Doherty Michelle Doherty 8:14 pm 26 Apr 15

Masquara said :

Shane Rattenbury claims that the attendance estimate was 50,000 and that’s why he didn’t put enough buses on, stranding thousands of people.

I heard the same. I don’t think anyone expected 120,000. What tremendous support for Anzac100 and yes,it was a shame that people seemed to get mucked around by the lack of buses. A few people I chatted to didn’t seem to mind the wait. When you think of what our soldiers went through I guess a wait for a bus, pales in comparison. The people I chatted to were in good cheer. I think the sausage sizzles helped. But I agree it would have been frustrating for some. I parked a kilometer away and lugged my camera gear up there.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 7:10 pm 26 Apr 15

If they had enough buses to get people there, why weren’t the same number of buses used to get them back again?
It was my first ever dawn service and I was absolutely amazed at the ability of over 100k people to actually remain quiet so one could hear the reading of the letters. I for one am very proud of the attendees ability to remain so respectful for the duration of events. Well done Canberra, you showed the ANZACs that what they fought for was worth fighting for.

Masquara Masquara 11:04 am 26 Apr 15

Shane Rattenbury claims that the attendance estimate was 50,000 and that’s why he didn’t put enough buses on, stranding thousands of people.

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