Anzac Day: Fine weather draws crowds to Kings Park dawn service
Tens of thousands of people have gathered under clear skies for the traditional Anzac Day dawn service in Kings Park in Perth.
People began streaming into the park from the early hours of the morning to remember those who lost their lives in conflict, 100 years after the end of World War I.
As the night sky gradually lightened over the city, a lone bugler’s plaintive rendition of The Last Post rang out across the crowd.
Among those to lay wreaths at the State War memorial were RSL WA president Peter Aspinall, Deputy Premier Roger Cook and Governor Kerry Sanderson.
Official crowd numbers were yet to be released, but the RSL expected around 40,000 people to attend.
“We’ve had good numbers in recent years, especially among young people and families,” an RSL spokeswoman said.
“It’s going to be perfect conditions weather-wise, getting up to about 24 degrees [Celsius] during the day and clear.”
Acapella versions of the national anthems of Australia and New Zealand were sung by 16-year-old Sally Jane Pottinger and 17-year-old Mohi Kamira, followed by an address by Brigadier Peter Moore, commander of the 13th Brigade.
The Smith family, holidaying in Perth from Geraldton, said they came to the service with their children to show them the importance of the sacrifice made my previous generations.
“We wanted to pass down to the kids that this is an important event that shouldn’t be forgotten,” Corina Smith said.
Tahlia Batters, chairperson of the Rovers scouting group, said it was a humbling experience.
“It’s a great thing to do and we always get a good turnout,” she said.
The rovers stood guard at the memorial in half-hour shifts overnight.
The Rovers stood guard in half hour shifts at the Kings Park war memorial overnight. (ABC News: Andrea Mayes)
Dawn services were also held in a number of regional towns including Katanning, where the service was organised by the local Lions club.
Lions club secretary Tamara Ford said the club had stepped in after the local RSL club disbanded several years ago.
“People in the district really wanted a service, but with no RSL club and not many Diggers left, somebody needed to step in and make sure it continued,” she said.
She said there were only “small handful” of World War II Diggers remaining in the region, most of whom were likely to be too frail to attend the service.
Ms Ford said the Katanning service was expected to attract “upwards of 250” people, including representatives from the local Afghani and Malaysian communities.
More than 100 services are being held around the state.