Yinnar & District ANZAC Service

ANZAC day started with the usual rolling fog through the surrounding hills of Yinnar for the 2023 dawn service. Under the gentle glow of the Yinnar R.S.L. Cenotaph, Captain (Ret.) Luke Townsend MBE/MA led the proceedings with support from a special appearance by the 22nd Engineer Regiment led by Sergeant Duncan Keith, acting as the Catafalque party for this year’s service. Captain Townsend expressed his personal gratitude to the Regiment stating “It’s our local regiment and without it, I literally would not be here; my mother and father met whilst serving in that regiment.”

Captain Townsend then expressed his thanks to the late Queen Elizabeth II and her lifetime of supporting the defence forces of the Commonwealth. Then welcoming the new era of King Charles, “We trust he too, will exercise his duty to the same high standard of service.”

Former Navy serviceman Gareth Peters then conducted a moving Ode to the Fallen and a 150+ strong crowd moved into the RSL for a Gunfire breakfast serviced by the Yinnar & District Lions club and Sonia and Jenny at the canteen. Delicious ANZAC biscuits were aplenty along with teas and coffees with “special additive” if requested.

Moving onto 9am, Main Street of Yinnar was closed for the traditional ANZAC parade march with the Morwell New Caledonian band leading Morwell RSL Sub-Branch members, 424 Squadron Australian Air Force Cadets from Kurnai College, 1st Yinnar Scouts and Yinnar Primary School. Arriving at the Yinnar Cenotaph, Captain Townsend returned to the role of emcee, launching into the service proceedings. The wreath laying ceremony saw involvement from local institutions, representatives and families, some who travel from Melbourne each year.

In a refreshing move that was welcomed by many this year, students from Yinnar Primary were the “guest speakers”. Their job was to research and present commemorative crosses that were discovered in the storage when the Yinnar RSL was reopened by Gareth Peters and Captain Townsend. Each cross represented a major conflict zone, military division or ship of WW1 but had unfortunately lost their local context over the decade the Yinnar RSL was closed. Captain Townsend explains, “We know they were used in past ANZAC Day services and must have meant something personally to the people of Yinnar, but we didn’t know anything about them.” That’s when the idea came to involve the primary students and allow them to bring the crosses back to life. “Still great, as always, to see youth participating, learning and respecting the event.” expressed one comment on the Yinnar & District Lions Facebook page.

Images from ANZAC Day 2023 Yinnar