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Meredith Taylor, Shire of Gingin

On Monday 25 April — following two years of COVID uncertainty — this year’s ANZAC Dawn Service in Gingin attracted larger than usual numbers and featured the theme ‘Animals in War’.

The service commenced at 6 am with a dawn march from the Arts and Craft Group building to the War Memorial at the Shire Office park. Leading the march was Mark Kay from RSL Bindoon, along with retired Australian army dog Hera and her handler Valerie, Leanne Bull riding Remy, and Emma Gibbs riding Peanuts. Performing a bagpipe tribute during the procession was Ben Treloar.

At the War Memorial, the Gingin Scouts and three local cadets attached to the Northam Army Cadet Unit gave several interesting readings on the bravery of Private John Simpson and his donkey Duffy who served as stretcher bearers during Gallipoli. Following the laying of the wreath, the community was then invited to lay sprigs of rosemary at the memorial.

Retired Australian army dog Hera

At completion of the Scout and Cadet service, everyone moved to the Soundshell for the official Dawn Service at 6.30 am. Robert Brodie-Hall gave the Welcome Message and Invocation followed by GDHS Chaplain Helena Donohoe who did a Bible scripture reading of John 10:11-15.

The ANZAC Day address was given by Deputy Shire President Kim Rule who spoke about the important role of horses in battle, particularly the Australian ‘Waler’, and the significance of the West Australian 10th Light Horse Regiment in campaigns in Sinai, Palestine, Jordan and Syria during WWI.

The Prayer for Those Who Suffer Because of War was given by David Roe followed by an address from RAAF Pearce Flight Lieutenant Eddie Tighe that focused on the role of animals in Afghanistan.

Lindsay Conway Major Retd from the Gingin Pensioners Social Club acknowledged the next of kin of three local Gingin WW1 soldiers — Aeneas Murray, Thomas Mullins and his brother Austin — who died in service, and local craftsman Ron Taggart who completed the wooden frame around a display case that contained their “Dead Man’s Pennies”. The Gingin Pensioners Social Club donated the display case which will be available for public viewing in early May.

Mr Conway then gave a Dedication to Animals in War and spoke about the crucial role of dogs in military from WWI and II to modern times, and the extraordinary job of the carrier pigeon as military messengers. The community was also treated to viewing a small flock of pigeons lent by Andrew Quince from Muchea.
Mr Brodie-Hall invited community representatives to lay wreaths and children to lay poppies at the Wall of Remembrance.

Performing the Last Post and Reveille on trumpet was Renee Ging, and the One Minute Silence was led by Mr Conway. A Prayer of Remembrance was given by Able Seaman Caitlin Matthews and Amy Matthews from the Royal Australian Navy, and a Prayer for Peace was given by GDHS student Isaiah Pio. The Ode was read by Mr Kay and local musician Kelly Gardner provided moving live music for the service.

Once the official service concluded, attendees enjoyed a Gunfire Breakfast in Granville Park which was organised, provided, and served by the Gingin Pensioners Social Club and community volunteers.

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