IT’S been more than a century since the first Anzac Day dawn service, but tens of thousands of West Australians still get up before the sun to remember the fallen.
People across Perth and WA honoured Australia’s servicemen and women at dawn services, and remembered the arrival of young Australians on the shores of Gallipoli under the cover of darkness on April 25, 1915.
A crowd of about 30,000 people gathered at Kings Park State War Memorial in Perth, where Premier Mark McGowan delivered the dawn service address.
Mr McGowan, who served in the Australian Navy, began by acknowledging the history of the war memorial and the first parents to visit and remember their sons lost in a faraway land.
“They remembered seeing him sail away, never to hold, never to speak to, never to kiss, never to see again,” he said.
“They will never forget the brief, grim telegram that told them of his death. Their grief and tears are soaked into the ground beneath our feet.”
Mr McGowan also paid tribute to modern veterans and their families, noting 58,000 Australians had served overseas since 1999.
He singled out then 19-year-old Liam Haven who had been serving in Iraq for six months in 2008 when shrapnel from a roadside bomb damaged his eyes.
“He lost his sight and very nearly his life,” Mr McGowan said.
“Since then, he has worked on welfare measures and in mental health support for other modern veterans just like him.
“His service didn’t end when he left the battlefield. I’ve never met a more inspirational or courageous person.”\
Mr McGowan also recognised the Australian service people currently overseas, expressing his gratitude and appreciation to former and current serving members and their families.
Mr McGowan said there 3300 Australians currently serving overseas who were potentially in harm’s way.
“We have much to be proud of. Lest we Forget.”
An estimated crowd of about 30,000 people attended the dawn service with WA Governor Kim Beazley among the dignitaries.
Haka for Life and Corroboree for Life performed traditional Maori hakas and Aboriginal dances after the Kings Park Dawn Service.
The organisations that work to prevent suicide among Maori and Aboriginal communities attracted a crowd of hundreds of people on Fraser Avenue.