Every year, Victorians gather at dawn commemorate service and sacrifice on ANZAC Day.
With ANZAC Day falling on the Monday of a long weekend many Victorians may this year attend a ANZAC Day Dawn Service far from home at vacation hot spots across the State.
From gathering at cenotaphs in small country towns, on clifftops and beaches, and the summit of mountains, there is an ANZAC Day Dawn Service close to you.
Here we've highlighted ANZAC plans in some of Victoria's getaway hotspots.
The forested slopes of Mount Macedon can be seen from virtually every corner of the Macedon Ranges region and, on a cloudless day, even from Melbourne.
An extinct volcano, Mt Macedon rises to 1,010 metres above sea level. At its lofty peak is
Memorial Cross, a 21-metre-high cross that commemorates Australia’s war fallen, and regarded as Victoria’s most significant war memorial after the Shrine of Remembrance.
Each ANZAC Day the mountain’s Memorial Cross plays host to one of the state’s largest Dawn Services, attracting up to 3,000 attendees from local communities, metropolitan Melbourne, and interstate.
The Memorial Cross was planned and constructed in the 1930s by local landowner William Cameron to honour those who lost their lives in World War One.
Over the years the cross withstood lightning strikes and bushfires, and eventually its internal steel structure weakened and it was at risk of falling down. It was restored in 1995.
For decades, volunteer organisations have worked to present Mount Macedon’s moving Dawn Service.
"Mount Macedon is one of the most beautiful settings in which to honour their sacrifice, to salute their service, and to learn from the price they paid."
Bruce Mildenhall, Chair of the Mount Macedon Anzac Day Dawn Service Committee
A retired politician and affiliate member of the Macedon RSL Sub-Branch, Bruce’s father was a Rat of Tobruk, and his maternal grandfather a soldier in the first Anzac Light Horse.
Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services have been cancelled or reduced over the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"I’m very excited that we can return to this spectacular setting for this year’s Dawn Service. It will be great for the community to rally around this iconic event once more"
“The Dawn Service is a commemorative event that honours the sacrifice of veterans, salutes their service, and seeks to learn from the experiences of servicemen and servicewomen.”
This year’s Dawn Service at Mt Macedon will also pay tribute to Indigenous peoples who have supported soldiers, sailors and aviators in various parts of the world over numerous conflicts.
In order to provide a safe and orderly event, private vehicles (including cars, motorcycles and bicycles) are not permitted to travel to the Mount Macedon War Memorial Cross on Anzac Day morning.
To attend the service, which starts at 6 am, you must book a seat in one of the buses that travel to and from the Memorial Cross for the event.
Bus services operate from Gisborne, Woodend, Sunbury, Kyneton, Riddells Creek, Lancefield and Romsey, with continuous shuttle buses from Macedon’s Tony Clarke Reserve from 4.15am.
“We are very proud of the virtual service we filmed last year, so for those who cannot attend we will be streaming the Dawn Service online,” added Bruce.
Inverloch, Bass Coast
Vietnam veteran Bob Sutton moved to Inverloch nine years ago, and in no time had joined the Inverloch RSL Sub-Branch and the local football club.
Inverloch’s ANZAC Day Dawn Service attracts around 300 people, and up to 600 attend the main service at the town’s cenotaph in the main street, which is decorated with thousands of poppies.
“Inverloch is a very vibrant community, and there are many people with a lot of energy and ideas that do a great job. There’s cricket, football, croquet, community clubs – you name it - and of course the RSL,” said Bob.
"ANZAC Day is the opportunity to share our love and respect for those of us who have gone before; to celebrate as a group the camaraderie we enjoy as members of the RSL and with the people of Inverloch."
“The Service is not only an important tribute to the people who have served, it provides an opportunity to educate and reflect on the realities and cost of war,” Bob said.
The Inverloch Dawn Service will begin at 6 am at 13-15 Bolding Place.
Step of for the March is 10:45 am from A’Beckett Street, Inverloch.
Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads
A popular surf town surrounded by wineries, pristine beaches and golf courses, Ocean Grove is situated on the southern coast of the Bellarine Peninsula, 19kms south of Geelong, separated by the Barwon River from its twin coastal town of Barwon Heads.
The Ocean Grove RSL Sub-Branch was formed in 1948 and amalgamed with the Barwon Heads RSL more than ten years ago to form Ocean Grove Barwon Heads RSL Sub-Branch.
Today the Sub-Branch boasts 166 members, comprised of 85 veterans, plus affiliate members, said president Bradley Clarke.
Brad joined the army in 1978 as an 18-year-old; spent 23 years at Puckapunyal as part of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps (RAAC), and was the Regimental Sergeant Major for the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment in Iraq from 2007 to 2008.
“It was full on,” said Brad of his experience in Iraq, in which he was in charge of minimising roadside explosive attacks and rocket attacks on Coalition forces.
Brad, who is still an active member of the Army Reserve, said that ANZAC Day is a very important community event in Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads.
"“It means a great deal to us to bring the community together on Anzac Day."
“We’ve got to make sure we commemorate and remember what all veterans have done for us.”
Brad’s reflection every Anzac Day is one of pride; his father fought in WWII and his grandfather in WWI.
"Anzac Day is about remembering all Australians who have served in the defence forces."
Prior to Covid-19 restrictions, around 1,500 people attended the Dawn Service, which has Ocean Grove Park, followed by a Gunfire Breakfast, with the main service attracting up to 5,000 people.
“A committee of seven spend several months organising Anzac Day services in Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads,” said Brad.
This year, the Dawn Service will be again held at Ocean Grove Park’s cenotaph at 6.15 am.
At 8.30am, assemble at Barwon Heads Community Hall for step-off at 8.45am and 9am service. The march will be accompanied by the Geelong RSL Pipes and Drums.
Back in Ocean Grove, the Main Service will commence from 9.45am from The Terrace to conclude at Ocean Grove Park with a commemorative and wreath laying ceremony.
A word from our State President, Dr Robert Webster OAM
"“I encourage Victorians who are heading away over the long weekend to find an ANZAC Day service close to them and join in commemoration on ANZAC Day. Together, let’s ensure that the ANZAC messages of mateship, respect and camaraderie continue to be heard across our State,” Dr Robert Webster OAM"
<figure class="redactor-component redactor-uploaded-figure" data-redactor-type="image"><img src="https://assets.rslvic.com.au/images/Rob-headshot-image-for-annual-report-v2.JPG#asset:33688:url" data-image="33688" alt="RSL Victoria State President Dr Robert Webster OAM" style="opacity: 1;"><figcaption contenteditable="true">RSL Victoria State President Dr Robert Webster OAM </figcaption></figure>