Above: (L) Kelly Wall in Landsborough, QLD, paints her wheelie bin ahead of Saturday, and (R) an ANZAC teddy bear decorates the front of Tabatha Mara’s Palm Beach home. (Photos: Facebook)
Australians in their thousands are preparing to mark Anzac Day from their driveways on Saturday, after the cancellation of all public Anzac gatherings due to coronavirus restrictions.
Across the country, families are decorating their front lawns and windows, hand-making poppies and candles, and practicing The Last Post on their musical instruments, for what will be the first ‘driveway commemoration’ of the day in Australia’s history.
- We would love you to share your ‘driveway commemorations’ photos or videos with us on our Facebook or Instagram
The driveway initiative was sparked by Ballarat man Justin Wilbur, who was the first to set up a Facebook page, Aussies & Kiwis for ANZACS, encouraging people to stand at the front of their driveways at 6am on Anzac Day holding a candle for a minute’s silence.
The idea gained traction and is now being supported at a national level — with the RSL getting on board and asking people to ‘light up the dawn’ for the mass dawn service — as well as other Facebook groups where people are sharing their photos of their preparations.
An app has been made for the event, providing The Last Post music and other resources, which is now available for download under the name ANZAC DAY 2020 (although the Android app is said to be functioning a little better than the iOS iphone app).
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Trumpet player James Morrison is encouraging brass players to provide a live soundtrack for the morning, by playing The Last Post in their driveways at 6am —an idea also being promoted by a Brisbane musician on the ‘Music for Mateship’ website.
Musicians are being asked to drop a letter in their neighbours’ letterboxes to notify them ahead of time.
Defence veteran Dane Greenstreet has posted a video encouraging Australians to phone any defence personnel they know this week, to let them know you care — explaining that many young military veterans struggle with mental health issues and need support.
- If you or someone you know needs support, visit our Helpful Counselling and Community Services page
Official Anzac Services Being Televised and Live-Streamed
Limited official Anzac services will still be held in Australia’s capital cities, to be live-streamed and televised on the ABC — including the National Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra from 5am, Melbourne’s dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance from 6:10am, Adelaide’s dawn service at 6:30am, and Sydney’s morning service at the Hyde Park Anzac Memorial, from 10am.
At 11:30am, the ABC will live-stream a reflection video on Facebook, including The Ode and Last Post, followed by a one-minute silence — marking the moment when the Aussie troops landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915.
Hope 103.2 will be broadcasting an Anzac Day dawn message at 5:50am, from Ralph Estherby, Senior Chaplain of the 2nd Division of the Australian Army and National Director for Chaplaincy Australia. The message will be followed by the Ode and the Last Post at 6am. You can also tune in to hear a repeat of the message after the 11am news.