St Marys RSL
St Marys RSL sub-Branch Reports of Commemorative Services
RSL Sub-Branch Contacts:
On a mighty hot day we were very pleased to see 150 attend our annual Remembrance Day Service. Thanks to 5ER who once again provided the splendid Catafalque Party, Andrew Iverson from Sydney University Regiment who provided the essential Bagpipes, Jasmine Tiatia who so ably played the Last Post & Rouse and to the many Sub-Branch helpers and Trainwashers who prepared the Memorial, set up for the Service and packed all away afterwards. Vice President Ron Blakely conducted the Service and was ably supported by respective speakers including President Ron Kelly, Treasurer Ted Fish, Assistant Secretary Lesley Ayres and VVAA Outpost Secretary Sam Vecchio.
While no post-Service function was available, many took the time to venture into the Club café to reflect on the Day.
A special service was held on the 18 August 2016 at the new War Memorial upgrade at St Marys RSL Sub-Branch, jointly with the St Marys Outpost of the Vietnam Veterans Association.
Three mil-hardware icons of the period were on hand for this historical event -
These provided an ideal reflection and focus for the Service. Thanks to Stuart Ayres MP, a video of the chopper landing can be seen below.
Special thanks to Pat Soars (Australian Native Landscapes) for allowing the chopper to visit us this day, and to the great support we always receive from 1/15 Royal New South Wales Lancers (for the Band and Catafalque Party), 5 Engineer Regiment (to perform the Table Ceremony) and Andrew Iverson (for providing the Pipes that always add a sombre reality to our Services). Special thanks also to Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir who graced us with her presence and delivered a wonderful Address to the 450 attending - her visit was a privilege to us all.
The newly upgraded War Memorial with its elevated Cenotaph and special lighting on both the memorial stone and each individual Catafalque party member, ensured that all attending had visual access to the central activity.
On 29 May, on a brilliant pre-Winter morning, a crowd numbering around 65 (including 5 descendants) attended our Boer War Commemorative Service marking 113 years since the Treaty signing at Vereeniging, ending the 2nd Anglo-Boer War where 23,000 Australians served and 1000 died. One descendant, Faith Bell, is the daughter of a Boer War veteran who went on to serve with honour in WW1, as did many of his compatriots.
From next year, a major commemorative Service will occur at this time at the new National Boer War Memorial being constructed in Anzac Parade Canberra. Stay tuned for dates and details.
Thank you to Fiona Scott MP (Member for Lindsay), Prue Car MP (Member for Londonderry), Cr Greg Davies (Penrith City Council) and all Sub-Branch members, students from Colyton High School and others who took time to pay honour to these 'Fathers of ANZAC'.
The earlier 5.00am start didn't fool too many as around 5,000 turned up for the Dawn Service. The weather was on our side, though a little chilly. A record number from the community lay tributes for lost loved ones. Again, the Erskine Park High School Concert Band and Cambridge Park High School ladies led us all well in the hymns and National Anthem. A couple of technical hitches with the A/V crew were overcome without too much delay. The Trainwashers had again prepared an excellent setting for this important commemoration, while 5 Engineer Regiment and 21 Army Cadet Unit provided their usual skilled personnel for Catafalque and Flag Parties. The Remembrance HAKA from St Clair Comets again drew the attention of the crowd and was greatly appreciated.
Sunday 17th April proved a little damp … particularly immediately prior to the march and Service. A most pleasing number participated in the local march along Queen Street, led by the St Marys Pipes and Drums & supported at the rear by the Kings School Marching Band. About 30 Sub-Branch members marched (with a further 20 odd preparing Victoria Park for their arrival); considering the middle of school vacation, an excellent turnout of children for their schools or sporting or community organisations. The sudden pre-Service downpour ensured that the St Marys Fire Brigade present were not required for their fire-fighting skills - the attempt at fire was therefore symbolic! And rectified afterwards. The Hon Peter Collins AM, QC and his wife Jennine were our special guests - Peter presented an informative and interesting Address. Despite the damp, over 1000 attended the Service; Caitlin and Stevenie impressed with their poems; and the Erskine Park High School Concert Band did a splendid job in playing the hymns and National Anthem - the ladies from Cambridge Park High School equally led us well in the singing department. Around 200 later joined in at the St Marys RSL Club for refreshments.