LITTLE ONLOOKER: Lleyton Smith waves to the Anzac Day march in Airlie Beach. Photo Sharon Smallwood / Whitsunday Times
LITTLE ONLOOKER: Lleyton Smith waves to the Anzac Day march in Airlie Beach. Photo Sharon Smallwood / Whitsunday Times Sharon Smallwood

Airlie will remember them

FOR Rod Davies, Anzac Day is about remembering your friends.

"It's one of the those days to remember your mates and what people did for us going back over 100 years,” the Airlie Beach/Whitsunday RSL Club secretary said.

"It's about remembrance for me and a good way to catch up, to sit down and tell some good stories and see some people you haven't seen in years.”

Former Airlie Beach/Whitsunday RSL Club vice president Bill Rose said the devastation wrought by Cyclone Debbie had sparked thoughts of the Great War.

"I went to look at the Cannonvale Cenotaph after the cyclone. It had absolutely no damage but the damage around it reminded me of the Western Front,” he said.

"I looked into the gully there and I thought 'oh my god' it's like my great uncle's photos, just like the Western Front.

STANDING GUARD: The cenotaph will be the focus of Anzac Day activities in Airlie Beach on Tuesday.
STANDING GUARD: The cenotaph will be the focus of Anzac Day activities in Airlie Beach on Tuesday. Sharon Smallwood

"There were trees and leaves on the ground. It's nice and clean now though, they've done a good job.”

Airlie Beach and Cannonvale will host a number of services on Anzac Day including the main street march.

Services in the region will begin at 5.30am with the dawn service. That will be followed by a breakfast, raffles and two-up at the Reef Gateway Hotel and the Anzac march down the main street of Airlie Beach.

"We're scheduled to have Jason Costigan, representatives from Whitsunday Regional Council, classic car hot rods, which some of the vets can sit in, contingents from Cairns and Townsville, Lions, Rotary, VMR and the local schools will all be part of the march,” Mr Davies said.

"I've got to say, it's nice to see the kids down there. On a public holiday they're in their school uniform and they always come and say hello and talk to the vets.

"After the dawn service we'll have a gunfire breakfast at the Reef Gateway with rum, coffee and sausages, which is a tradition that goes back a long way. Then after the main service we'll head back there and start selling raffle tickets with more than 20 prizes up for grabs including bottles of scotch and rum. Then to finish off we'll have two-up.

"It's a way to catch up with some nibblies and have a chin wag along the way.”

In the lead-up to Anzac Day a memorabilia badge sale is being held daily in front of Coles at the Whitsunday Shopping Centre and at the Whitsunday Plaza until around 4pm each day.

Mr Rose said that rain, hail or shine, we would remember them.

"No matter what, the Anzac spirit still lives,” he said.

This year marks 102 years since Australian and New Zealand troops set foot on the beaches of Gallipoli.


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