St Marys RSL
St Marys RSL sub-Branch Reports of Commemorative Services
RSL Sub-Branch Contacts:
An estimated 200 attended our Remembrance Day Service at 10.40am on Wednesday 11th November 2015 at our Guns War Memorial under overcast but dry conditions. Vice President Ron Blakely MC'd the Service with special poems read by Treasurer Ted Fish ('Taking a Stand'), Greg and Kerrie Davies (who authored and read their poem 'The Lucky One') and Margaret Dallimore-Pianko ('The Simple Poppy'). 5 Engineer Regiment again supported us well by providing an efficient Catafalque party, while 1/15 Royal NSW Lancers band provided our Bugler, Gavin Lukin. Nine local schools joined our regular Tribute Ceremony so that our memorial area was awash with floral arrangements. Thank you to all who took the time to pay tribute to those Australians who gave their lives in battle so we can enjoy the freedoms of today's Australia.
Fifty persons took advantage of the 'inside' Service at St Marys due to the impending threat of rain. 5 Engineer Regiment kindly supplied a magnificent Catafalque Party and two students from Colyton High School Trade School joined other speakers by reciting two of Banjo Patterson's poems ('Moving On' and 'We're all Australians Now'). Our new Sub-Branch Vice President, Frank Lawton, had a 'blooding by delivering the Address for the occasion, and did a marvellous job with the difficult pronunciations.'
ANZAC Centenary in St Marys - 2015
The community of St Marys joined in great numbers to remember and commemorate the Centenary of ANZAC. Both the ANZAC Sunday and Dawn Services were among the most memorable and successful on record. Sub-Branch Members and the community in general (schools in particular) are to be commended for the effort. The weather was very kind to us this year for both Services.
ANZAC Sunday March and Service - 19th April 2015.
At 2.30pm in Queen Street, a record number of groups commenced the annual march to Victoria Park for our annual Sunday Service for ANZAC. More than 20 schools unfurled their banners with good representation from all, and joined with a strong representation of community and sporting groups to support the St Marys RSL Sub-Branch, Youth Club and Women's Auxiliary. Led by the St Marys Brass Band and 5th Light Horse Association, and completed with the St Marys Pipes and Drums Band, the March took over the CBD for 30 minutes while it proceeded under Police escort to Victoria Park, where our ANZAC Address guest speaker, Maj Gen Warren Glenny took the salute as the March passed the rotunda.
After mounting the Catafalque Party by 5 Engineer Regiment and placing focus headdress on the Cenotaph, In setting the focus for the subsequent Commemorative Service, representatives of 30 local schools who participated in a related project conducted by the Sub-Branch to research the lives of 162 local WW1 volunteers, placed decorated crosses in a set formation; the schools and the St Marys Historical Society and Penrith City Library were then presented with a copy of the published collated research in book-form.
Maj Gen Glenny's ANZAC Address was most informative and was followed by the usual prayers and Hymns (led by the St Marys Brass Band supporting the Sunset Station Singers) and the moving poem 'Not a Hero' recited with feeling by Jeremy Blades, Captain of Wollemi College, Werrington. A moving Tribute Ceremony and Benediction helped to complete a successful Service (along with 400 imaginary doves!).
All-in-all, it was estimated that more than 1,000 attended the Service. The post-Service refreshments at St Marys RSL Club was also well attended.
ANZAC Dawn Service - Saturday 25th April 2015.
An estimate 6,000+ participated and enjoyed a contemporary delivery of the annual ANZAC Service at the Guns Memorial, St Marys RSL Club. A team of around 40 Sub-Branch members worked together to conduct a Service with added features to enhance its importance. Thank you to all who played a part to make it happen successfully. After conducting a 'piquet' over the equipment through the Friday evening, the audio-visual contractors commenced with a range of appropriate You Tube video clips from 4.50am, leading to a commencement of the official Service at 5.30am. The Flag Party comprised a New Zealand flag and the Australian Red Ensign to reflect the Australian flag that was carried ashore at Gallipoli. This complemented the focus headdress placed by the Ladies Auxiliary onto the Cenotaph and Remembrance Candle lit by Superintendent Greg Peters, NSW Police St Marys LAC Commander. Further local focus was attracted through the description of the Poppy Flows stemming from the 25 Pounder Cannons, cascading to the ground to envelop the formations of crosses to represent many named individuals who left St Marys 100 years earlier to serve our Nation in WW1; then on to the new banner at the Bugle Stand - the faces of 95 of those local WW1 participants.
The Service continued along usual lines with a welcome from President, Ron Kelly and the usual prayers and Hymns (led by the St Marys Brass Band supporting our singer, Fiona Harkins of Cambridge Park High School) and a moving poem 'Not a Hero' recited with feeling by Mark Pirotta, Vice-Captain of Wollemi College, Werrington.
The Tribute Ceremony was special as expected and completed surprisingly and appropriately by a remembrance Haka performed by members of the Under 19 St Clair Comets Rugby League Club. The Benediction was delivered with true feeling by our Chaplin, Rev. Mark Jenkins; all joined in full volume for the National Anthem and the Service was appropriately concluded with the release of four white peace doves to carry our message of hope for peace to the four corners of the world.
After the Service, the organisers were stunned at the tsunami of onlookers who streamed into the Memorial enclosure to get a closer look at the focus icons and banner.
If you would like to be involved in assisting to plan and co-ordinate the 2016 ANZAC Commemorative Services, please contact Sub-Branch Honorary Secretary, Tony Fryer.