Hundreds of people gathered on the banks of the Clyde River this morning to commemorate those who achieved our freedom.
As the sun began to rise the mood was still and calm with a few murmurs from babies who for the first time were experiencing the town rise as early as them. The Dawn Service is a tradition that continues to be passed down through the generations.
Maddison and Belinda Blewitt attend the service every year for Maddison’s great grandfather Robert Augustus Eastwell who served in World War 1 at age 17.
“He kept a diary from his time there,” Maddison says.
“He was a quiet man who didn’t speak of the war often but his diary is very sad.
“I’m marching today for my great grandfather.”
Ylaiza Secro, 14, and Allyssa Jolly, 13, volunteered to attend the service to represent Batemans Bay High School.
“We feel honoured to have read the Roll of Honour today,” Allyssa says.
Their parents said they had been practicing for weeks and felt it was a great responsibility.
Annette McKeown says it’s a very poignant day, she says she thinks deeply about the people who didn’t return and the impact it has on the following generations.
“My medals are my mothers, she was one of the first women to serve for the AWAS (Australian Women’s Army Service) in Papua New Guinea,” Annette says.
Eurobodalla Shire Councillor Jack Tait’s Grandfather served the Royal Australian Air Force in Darwin when the Japenese attacked.
“He was in one of the only planes to get off the ground to fight and he survived,” Cr Tait says.
The service was followed by breakfast at the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club and the traditional march along Orient Street.