Geoffery McAuliffe Welcoming People into the Memorial Hall. Photo: Jack Murray.

On ANZAC Day morning the residents of Wallendbeen held its annual ANZAC Services and its commemoration of the 100th year of the Wallendbeen Soldiers Memorial Hall. The day had guest speakers ranging from Sgt Barrowcliffe and Leigh Bowden as well as a raffle, cake cutting and a moment of silence.

The day started at 8:45 am for a march from the Wallendbeen Public School down to the cenotaph where the service officially started with a prayer read out by Geoffery McAuliffe.

There was then a speech by the guest speaker, Sgt Barrowcliffe talking about the importance of ANZAC services and honouring the fallen soldiers in the First World War.

There was then a musical performance by Grant Richardson, and as Grant was playing a Spitfire plane from the flyover which graced other towns as well, flew above the Wallendbeen services.

Grant was shortly followed by the laying of wreaths at the Cenotaph which had students of Wallendbeen Primary, Logan Collins, Amanda Bittmen and some residents who had been laying wreaths for their ancestors for over sixty years.

Logan Collins Walking to Lay His Wreath. Photo: Jack Murray.

There was a moment of silence which included a bagpipe performance by Kym and Jame Martel as the flag was raised in honour of the ANZACs before everyone sang the Australian National Anthem.

The service was then concluded, and the commemoration of the Wallendbeen Soldiers Memorial Halls one-hundred-year anniversary started immediately after with a morning tea provided by the hall.

Alex Baldry and Marcia Thorburn opened the speeches for the morning before welcoming Leigh Bowden to talk about the importance of Wallendbeen’s memorial services.

Relatives of ex-soldiers provided some words including Peter Sackett who praised Wallendbeen for the fantastic turnout saying the town was “punching above their weight” by having so many turn up.

The raffle was drawn with Knoll Wilson winning the Vietnam Memorial Photo and Skye Crow winning the second-place prize. The cake prepared to commemorate the hundred years was cut by Marcia Thorburn, Alex Baldry, Simon Forsythe and Peter Sackett.

Simon Forsythe, Peter Sackett, Marcia Thorburn, Alex Baldry Cutting the Cake. Photo: Jack Murray.

The celebrations saw an enormous turnout from Wallendbeen locals, a turnout that the Hall’s treasurer, Marcia Thorburn, thought was delightful, “Our Chairman spoke highly of this. Celebrating the hall was great, the community needs a venue like that to be able to hold functions and meetings and throughout it’s just been a wonderful facility for the community.”

“You could feel that it was a very happy occasion, the community and district all came out and we had a wonderful time today.”

Many kids from the Wallendbeen Public School also took part in the ANZAC ceremonies which made plenty of Wallendbeen locals very proud of their town.

The locals were also extremely impressed by the event with Wallendbeen local Tom Gosling also commenting on how “perfect” the day was, “the ANZAC service was very well attended this year. It’s always a moving ceremony, it’s always a beautiful ceremony.”

“The fact that so many people went from the morning service to the hall was amazing. Lots of people were catching up with each other and you could barely hear yourself speak because people were so excited to get together. In these post-COVID times, this is one of the first big gatherings of the Wallendbeen community. People just loved being able to gather together like that and catch up with each other.”

“There was a genuine air of excitement today. Just being able to get together again. It was an extra special occasion because of that 100th anniversary. I was particularly moved by the speakers, especially Peter Sackett. Today really struck out to me as an important day.”

Jack Murray