17 April 2024

Looking for a special way to commemorate Anzac Day? Try this peaceful dawn tribute

| Zoe Cartwright
Start the conversation
Dawn Simpson and four friends began their personal Anzac Day tribute in 2022.

Dawn Simpson and four friends began their personal Anzac Day tribute in 2022. Photo: Dawn Simpson.

What began as a private Anzac Day tribute has grown into a beautiful local ceremony at Wimbie Beach on the South Coast – and you’re invited.

Two years ago the Eurobodalla’s beloved Dawn Simpson, along with four friends, gathered jars and candles to line Wimbie Beach in quiet gratitude for the sacrifices made by the Anzacs.

The tradition has grown, and this year Dawn has more than 1000 jars with candles to be lit along the beach, which she says reminds her of Anzac Cove.

She’s also found a list of every man and woman who left the Eurobodalla to serve in the Great War, and 550 of the candles will be individually named in their memory.

READ ALSO Good gourd! Pumpkin paddler tackles the Tumut River in supersized squash

“I’ve made up little flags from A to Z, so they will be lined up by surname, and include their battalion information as well,” Dawn said.

“If someone has a connection to any of them, they can pay their respects.

“There are no speeches, no politicians; I just ask people to come along, reflect quietly and show their respect in their own way on the beach with a few moments of silence for the people who went and struggled and never came back.

“All those boys who left our shire thinking it was a big adventure and never got to see their mum and dad again, never got to hold their newborn baby, never got to go and eat a meat pie at the football again.

“It’s heartbreaking; I have to get somebody else to read the ode because it breaks me up.”

Dawn has a personal connection – her grandfather served in the Great War, and she made her own pilgrimage to Gallipoli several years ago.

She said walking along Wimbie Beach in the quiet at daybreak reminded her of that faraway beach in Turkey where so many lost their lives.

“I stood on the beach at Gallipoli and thought of all those boys who didn’t make it once they jumped out of the boat,” she said.

“They were loaded up with packs and some of them couldn’t swim; they never made it to shore.

“This year my friend John Bell and others are going to be offshore with candles on the front of their kayaks as a reminder of the boats at Gallipoli.”

READ ALSO Wanted: Your memories of one of our most historic landmarks – Cuppacumbalong

Cameron Bell will play Flowers in the Field from the rocks at Wimbie Beach as the sun rises on Anzac Day, before playing the Last Post.

The Coffee Driven van will be there to offer a cuppa afterwards, and Dawn will have Anzac bikkies for hungry tummies.

Dawn hopes that creating a quiet space for remembrance, away from pubs and politics, will help to keep the true spirit of the day alive.

“I’m really fit; I can see I’m going to do this for the rest of my life,” she said.

“I think of my grandfather, and it’s really to honour him as well as all the others who went.”

To attend the remembrance, head to Wimbie Beach, Surf Beach, at dawn on Anzac Day.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.