The traditional Mildura Anzac Day Dawn Service and march will take place this year albeit scaled down and in a COVIDSafe way.
In most part the day’s activities will resemble the norm, but in the case of the Dawn Service and post march service, there won’t be the usual gathering of school children or a choir.
Mildura RSL manager of Veteran Services Paul Mensch said that while the march is able to go ahead, it will proceed with the absence of family members of ex-service personnel.
“We’ve had to limit the number of people who can march, and so it’s only ex-service personnel or serving personnel,” he said.
“There are no families joining the march unfortunately, and for the service, we’ve had to also reduce the number of participants and so we’re not including schools and choirs and the bands will only be playing during the march and not at the service.”
Mr Mensch said that there will be QR coding in operation at Henderson Park and at the site for the commencement of the march.
“There will be hand sanitisers everywhere and reminders everywhere about social distancing as well,” he said.
“We’ll have COVID marshals on the ground ensuring those things are occurring. When it comes to laying wreaths, again we have had to limit the amount of people who can lay them and these will include the dignitaries attending and ex-service organisations.
“Having said that, after the ceremony has concluded, anyone who wants to lay a wreath is more than welcome to do so. Whether it’s a school or any other organisation. While they can’t take part in the formal laying of the wreaths due to the COVID restrictions, we are more than happy for people to do so after the ceremony.”
The Dawn Service will be held at 6am and the march will commence from Eighth Street at 11am, where it will proceed to Henderson Park for the traditional commemoration service at its conclusion. Those intending to march should muster at 10.30am at the starting point.
Mr Mensch said that the guest speaker at the memorial service will be Commander Bronwyn Low, the niece of local ex-serviceman Jimmy Keppler.
“Jimmy served in occupied Japan after the Second World War and did three tours of Vietnam and he’s still very much alive and well and will be attending Anzac Day in the parade,” he said.
“He’ll be in a World War 2 Jeep at the front of the parade.
“I would also like people to know that having Anzac Day go ahead in Mildura is quite a feat, given many rural and regional towns are not able to hold similar events.
“Ours is going ahead thanks to the hard work of Jo Rodda and with the support of the Mildura Rural City Council.
“We are grateful to all those who have assisted with all of the logisitcs and compliance requirements.
“We’ve been able to get all of the boxes ticked that we needed to in regard to the COVIDSafe plans, road closures and all of the other compliance issues, that will enable community members to come together and pay their respects on what is the most important day on the RSL calendar.”