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Anzac Day Melbourne: Victorians encouraged to turn out in force for services


Victorians have turned out in force to “recognise the service and sacrifice” of our servicemen and women on “an incredibly special” Anzac Day. Watch the Dawn Service from Melbourne’s Shrine.

The captains of the football clubs that will draw masses of fans to the MCG on Monday say they feel honoured to play on Anzac Day.

A crowd of about 90,000 is expected at the Essendon-­Collingwood showdown as players and fans gather in a uniquely Melbourne way to ­acknowledge and celebrate the Anzac spirit.

Meanwhile, crowds of up to 30,000 are expected at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance for the dawn service as services across Victoria also paid tribute to the sacrifices of Australian and New Zealand soldiers in overseas conflicts.

While he has played on the big stage often before, Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury said standing in front of a packed MCG for the Anzac Day service was “unbelievable’’.

“I always say, ‘listen to that Last Post when everyone’s ­silent and take a moment to look around and appreciate what you’re about to go and do, and how lucky we are to do it on such a special day for the country’,’’ he said.

Bombers skipper Dyson Heppell said some of his fondest memories came on Anzac Day.

“A hundred thousand people dead silent, it’s just a ridiculous feeling,’’ he said. “Something you can’t even ­describe. It’s very special.”

Magpies recruit Pat Lipinski said one of the first things the club mentioned when he signed was, ‘Oh, you get to play Anzac Day’.

“It’s the biggest game of the regular season, so super exciting,’’ he said.

RSL Victoria president Robert Webster said this year’s Dawn Service was “very significant” after two years of ­interruptions due to the Covid pandemic.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to do it unrestricted for three years,’’ he said.

“There will be a lot of people that will come out because of that principle.’’

Pre-dawn train services will run on metropolitan lines, and extra trams are scheduled for St Kilda Rd. Thousands of people will also line St Kilda Rd for the Anzac Day parade from 9am, after numbers last year were limited to 7500.

Daniel Andrews encouraged Victorians to turn out in force to “recognise the service and sacrifice” of our servicemen and women on “an incredibly special” day.

“Our values are on display … and I’m sure there will be a very significant crowd as we say thankyou to all those who gave so, so much,’’ the Premier said. “Then there will be the march, which we haven’t been able to have, obviously, for a period of time.”

Dr Webster said thousands of regional Victorians were also expected to attend dawn services.

“Torquay is expecting up to 12,000 … and Bendigo is ­expecting a big dawn service because people are still away for the school holidays and those regional services will be well supported,’’ he said.

At Gallipoli, a smaller than usual gathering of several hundred people will gather to honour the Anzacs.

Band of brothers’ pride in service

THE drive to serve the nation runs deep and proud in the Wells family.

More than 50 years since volunteering to fight in Vietnam, the four brothers from Melbourne still feel honoured to have worn their country’s uniform.

John Wells, 76, was the eldest to join the war as a signaller in the artillery regiment in 1967.

“We were proud to volunteer and two-thirds of all who fought in Vietnam were volunteers although you tend to hear a lot about nashos (national service conscripts),” he said.

But when in the war zone, those distinctions washed away. “It was more about the type of person you were, not how you joined the army.”

John was followed two years later by stepbrother Simon Bloomer, now 74, who served as a postal clerk in the service corps but the vagaries of war meant he saw more action of any of the brothers, John says.Andrew Wells, 72 arrived in Vietnam in 1970 as an infantryman while David, 71, was due to fly out in 1972 but broke his leg playing rugby. On Anzac Day the four brothers will gather at Dandenong RSL, where John is president, to reflect and swap stories with men from both sides of the former battle lines.

Originally published as Victorians encouraged to turn out in force for Anzac Day



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