The voice you have come to know at the annual ANZAC Day Dawn Service has retired.

Squadron Leader Peter Meehan OAM (Retd) dedicated his time for the last 11 years as the MC.

“Peter has generously conducted the Dawn Service with gravitas and professionalism for over a decade. He also brought a personal connection to the service as a veteran himself. We are extremely grateful for Peter’s dedication and bringing the Dawn Service to thousands of people annually,” says RSL Victoria President, Dr Robert Webster, OAM.

Taking over the MC’ing duties at the 2023 Dawn Service was Justin Smith, a Melbourne based journalist, broadcaster and writer.

Crowds at the Melbourne Dawn Service, photographed by Robert Blackburn.
Crowds at the Melbourne Dawn Service, photographed by Robert Blackburn.

“To be stepping in, to follow people like Peter just means a lot to me. It’s a real honour and is incredibly humbling.”

He has covered Australia’s war history through his work in the media, including Afghanistan in 2013 when he was embedded with Australian troops. He received an award from Commercial Radio Australia for his coverage. He also conducted a live national broadcast of the 100-year Gallipoli ceremony.

While Peter does not have a service history of his own, his family served in WW2 and Vietnam. He says he feels personally connected to ANZAC Day and is always captivated by the people behind it.

“For me, something that has always got me is the stories – whether they are soldiers away from home, or it’s their families, the women who stayed on the home front to work in the factories, or the nurses, and how people sacrificed and suffered for us.”

For Justin, the Dawn Service remains an important tradition for the country to unite.

"I just love the Dawn Service because it is so simple and straightforward. The fact that everybody is there feeling the same thing and they’re all there for the same reason."

Justin Smith

He is also strongly of the belief that veterans continue to need our support.

“When they go away, we need them. When they return, they need us.”