A man pays respect at the WA War Memorial before dawn on Anzac Day. (ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)
West Australians throughout the state have marked Anzac Day in unique ways, as the threat of coronavirus continues to dictate the way we live.
- People across Western Australia have marked Anzac Day at home
- Many gathered at the end of their driveways or on balconies to pay respect
- Few turned out at the State War Memorial, after crowds were urged to stay home
The State War Memorial at Kings Park held no official ceremony and police were on standby to ensure crowds did not gather.
Fewer than 100 people trickled into the park before dawn, while suburban and regional memorials were also off limit.
Instead, families and neighbours gathered at 6:00am outside their homes, on driveways and on balconies, in order to mark the day while maintaining social distancing.
Pilots stand to attention as the Last Post is played at Jandakot airport. (ABC News: Hugh Sando)
Some people donned their Anzac Day finest, or medals marking their service or that of relatives who had passed away.
In Perth, rain did not dissuade many.
In some streets, a bugle was played — or another instrument took its place.
Dawn and Andrew Scogings were among the group that joined a private dawn service in East Perth. (ABC News: Keane Bourke)
Elsewhere, people tuned into radio, television and social media broadcasts for an Anzac service.
Tradition providing comfort in ‘difficult times’
In a pre-recorded video message, the Premier Mark McGowan acknowledged how different this April 25 would be to years gone by.
“This is obviously a very different kind of Anzac Day. The fact that we are marking this solemn occasion separately, self-isolated and socially distanced, these are challenging and difficult times,” he said.
“Anzac Day is a time when West Australians of all ages, of all walks of life came together in the cold dark mornings and found comfort and solace in remembrance.
“This year, coming together in person just isn’t possible — the health risks are just far too great, especially for the older members of our community, especially our older veterans.
“However, I take comfort in the fact that all around this great state, West Australians will mark Anzac Day in their own ways.”
Retired Lance Corporal David Scott, a 2020 Anzac of the Year, performed The Last Post for neighbours at his Perth retirement village. (ABC News: James Carmody)
Anzac of the Year bugled for his neighbours
At a retirement village in the Perth suburb of Menora, one of five recipients of the Anzac of the Year award, retired Lance Corporal David Scott, performed The Last Post for his neighbours.
Mr Scott gave 39 years of service to the army and has played the bugle at services and ceremonies all over the world.
He said it was always an honour to perform The Last Post and this morning was no different.
“It’s an absolute privilege, it’s hard to explain, my grandfather fought on the Western Front and it’s just a great opportunity to say thank you for those sorts of people,” he said.
Women hold candles during an Anzac Day memorial at a Perth retirement village. (ABC News: James Carmody)
“People that have been before us and prepared to put their life on the line for us, I don’t think we’d be doing this today if they hadn’t.
“It’s just a great pleasure to do it, especially for the elderly guys who had been to war, they left a lot of mates back on the battlefield that they’ll never see again.”
The sounds of dawn service unchanged
One of Mr Scott’s neighbours who helped to organise the retirement village service was 80-year-old blind man Jeff Keegan.
“I miss out not being able to see what’s going on, I have to keep whispering to my wife and she explained the flag going up and down and at half-mast and the laying of the wreath,” he said.
Blind man Jeff Keegan said listening to a live bugle helped make it feel like a traditional Anzac Day. (ABC News: James Carmody)
But Mr Keegan said there was no missing out on the poignant sound of the bugle, which he said was such an iconic and moving part of honouring Australia’s servicemen and women.
“You can’t miss it, there’s nothing like it,” he said.
“I was very emotional about it, I quite enjoyed the fact that Dave was our bugler, a live bugle is very touching.
“It’s just spine-tingling, and Dave has got a beautiful touch, and I enjoyed the national anthem.”
Vernon Daulby, his wife Beth and Shannon Hartwell on horseback gathered on their driveway in Bridgetown. (ABC South West: Jacquie Lynch)
Vernon Daulby, 93, is one of the last remaining veterans in Bridgetown and took to his driveway this morning with his wife Beth Daulby to mark the occasion.
Mr Daulby served in the navy during World War II.
“What happened in Borneo was shocking and I’ll never forget it,” he said.
“It’s a terrible thing that happened but it’s a wonderful thing that Anzac Day is still going.”
Intimate service to remember a loved one
In the South West town of Australind, Janette Thomson held an intimate driveway dawn service, wearing full WWI military regalia and holding her horse by her side.
Australian and New Zealand flags and candles sat atop wheelie bins on the edge of the street.
Ms Thomson has been a member of one of Australia’s largest Anzac re-enactment groups, the Bunbury 10th Light Horse Troop, for a decade.
In Australind, Janette Thomson held an intimate driveway dawn service, wearing full WWI military regalia. (ABC South West: Jon Daly)
On a normal Anzac Day, she and her fellow riders trot past the memorial and RSL in full uniform as a sign of respect to veterans.
“I ride to remember my great uncle, John Brown,” she said.
“He died at Dardanelles in Gallipoli, and I always ride with his photo in my pocket, just to remember.”
But this year is different.
“This year really tugs at the heartstrings because we think about the older generation,” Ms Thomson said.
“They come out on Anzac Day, and to have some of them sitting at home on their own is really sad.
“But at least we can respect and support them by doing this.”
Banners but no battalions on Perth’s main street St Georges Terrace, with the march cancelled due to coronavirus. (ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)