Anzac Day in The Hills

A crowd of thousands gathered before dawn at the Centenary of Anzac Reserve in Kellyville to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

An eerie silence filled the air as the service began and scores of veterans bowed their heads in tribute to their fallen brothers and sisters.

Royal Australian Airforce Group Captain Don Sutherland addressed the crowd. 

“We are gathered here to honour the memory of the gallant men and women who sacrificed their lives in the service of this country,” he said. “I feel Anzac has transcended anything physical and become something else. It’s not a place, campaign, or even war.

“Anzac is an inspiration. 

“It embodies courage, discipline, sacrifice and self-reliance. 

“We gather not to celebrate war but to remind ourselves of what we value, who we are and the freedoms we’ve been given. 

“We acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who contributed so much in shaping the identity of this proud nation and those who continue to serve.”

Members of organisations and schools placed wreaths on the cenotaph to honour the men and women who gave their lives for Australia.  

In the final moments of the commemoration, veterans and attendees shared a moment of silence to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Following the service, residents from across The Hills visited Castle Hill RSL for two-up and a special breakfast for veterans and their families hosted by the Castle Hill RSL Sub-branch. 

Kellyville resident and Vietnam veteran Warren Grant said Anzac Day held great significance for himself and his brothers-in-arms. 

“My friends from Vietnam and I still meet and communicate. For us it’s really a remembrance day,” Mr Grant said.

“We take time to remember our friends who have died.”

Mr Grant’s daughter, Ashlie Ferguson, shares every Anzac Day with her father.

“It means the world and we are so proud of him for what he did for our country and our family. It’s a really special day,” Ms Ferguson said. 

“It’s a day of remembrance for us.”

For Rick Cummings, Anzac Day is a reminder of friendship, sacrifice and courage. 

The Castle Hill RSL vice president joined the Royal Australia Navy in 1973 and served this country for 21 years. 

“Anzac Day is a very emotional day because we are able to understand what our Anzacs, World War II, Korean and Vietnam military personnel went through to give us freedom,” Mr Cummings said.

“It’s a chance to meet our comrades again, remember old times, swap stories and maybe tell a few lies.  As well as involve my family because they’ve obviously been with me during my whole tenure. It’s a special day and it’s so great to be with everyone. 

“It’s not about celebrating war but celebrating the memory.”

Among the young and old faces at the Castle Hill RSL veterans breakfast was David Hollier who served in the army for five months in Afghanistan as a craftsman in 2010. 

“I am an electrician. I joined many years ago in the Army Reserves and I was a reservist when I toured over there,” Mr Hollier said. 

“For me, Anzac Day has a two-fold meaning. Prior to serving, Anzac Day was very traditional and about remembering the past.

“Now it’s still remembering the past but also the time during my deployment and the people I served with. It’s a very special day.”

Live stream from The Hills Anzac Service

Laying of the wreaths at the Centenary of Anzac Reserve

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This story PHOTO GALLERY: Kellyville-Castle Hill Anzac Day first appeared on Hills News.