THE fact thousands are expected to attend Anzac Day commemorations across Newcastle this year is a “hat tip” to the next generation and the strength of the Anzac spirit, according to the Newcastle RSL Sub-Branch.
When sub-branch president Ken Fayle looks out out at the crowd gathered for the dawn service at Nobbys Beach, he sees an enduring legacy.
“When I look up as MC, it’s a mixture of older people and young families. That’s really important,” he said.
“People are making a day of it, they go out for coffee and breakfast – and the younger ones are learning what the day is about.
“Long term, I’d say the future is looking bright.”
The popular dawn service at Camp Shortland at Nobbys Beach will begin at 5am on Anzac Day. It will be followed by the morning service at 10am at Civic Park, with a march to step off from Hunter Street Mall at 9.15am.
Mr Fayle said a bumper crowd of 50,000 people was expected to attend the Nobbys service.
“The Anzac dawn service at Nobbys is probably the best attended regional service in Australia,” he said.
“Being there in the dark, hearing the waves crash, you’re breathing in the silence, you’re breathing in the spirit.”
As per tradition, the 5am beachside tribute will include a band, choir, bagpiper and bugler sounding The Last Post.
The silence will be broken by a four-gun Salute to the Fallen from Fort Scratchley.
“It makes me so proud to see so many people turn out to honour those who went to war on behalf of their country,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
“Anzac Day honours all Australian servicemen and women not just the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought at Gallipoli, and it is right we continue to honour their sacrifices as a fine example to all.”
The Royal Australian Air Force will conduct flyovers above Newcastle at 9.37am and 11.15am.
Other flyovers at places including Belmont, Wangi Wangi, Swansea and Toronto will take place between 9.30am and 11.10am.