Traditional dawn service at Naracoorte

Naracoorte Anzac Day ceremony MC Jo Callaghan (left) and mayor Erika Vickery with mounted "soldier" Cameron Strachan.

Naracoorte Anzac Day ceremony MC Jo Callaghan (left) and mayor Erika Vickery with mounted "soldier" Cameron Strachan.

A TRADITIONAL dawn service time of 5.30am could be here to stay after hundreds of locals turned out in the early morning darkness on Anzac Day.

In fact, while the sun was yet to rise and the air icy cold when rugged up locals gathered at the Naracoorte war memorial, the service was rated the "best one ever" by some.

A rough head count revealed there were at least 1000 people ringed around the war memorial to honour all the service men and women who have fought for their country.

Organisers were so happy with the result that a traditional dawn service might be on the cards again for next year.

Naracoorte Lucindale Council mayor Erika Vickery said the atmosphere was really beautiful.

"It was excellent," she said. "To start in the dark and then have dawn coming in during The Last Post and the minute's silence...it captured the moment really well.

"The support we received for the service was as good as it has been in other years.

"In fact, some people thought the numbers were better. We were blessed by good weather, it was cold but not too windy or raining."

For 2014 an Anzac Day Remembrance Day Working Group was formed to support the RSL club in organising the event.

It consisted of three delegates from the RSL including president Andrew "Jay" Jaloshin, three from council and three from the community.

Things ran somewhat differently to previous years but all feedback was positive.

Mrs Vickery said everyone was actually drawn in closer to the memorial than usual and all age groups were represented - from the very young to the old.

Naracoorte RSL member Bert Amey, who read the invocation at the service thought it was the best one he had been to.

"I never knew so many people lived in Naracoorte," he laughed. "There might have been a few missing but most were there...I think the kids like getting up when it's dark because its a bit of an adventure for them.

"I certainly enjoyed it. The ones who were going to complain about things being different were quite happy. It couldn't have been any better."

Master of ceremonies Jo-Anne Callaghan agreed there was a nice vibe.

"I think it was really well attended," she said. "I honestly didn't expect to see so many people out at that early hour. I think numbers were about on par with previous years, if not more than."

She added Anzac Day services seemed to be increasing in popularity.

"They are more publicised than they previously were...people are becoming more aware," she said.

"We're getting a lot more young people out which is great to see."

Mrs Callaghan opened the service with a welcome before the mounting of the catafalque party and flag by Country Dire Service volunteers.

Police chaplain Pastor Evan Carr led the prayers and benediction and Mrs Vickery the songs.

All of the local schools were involved as well as the Naracoorte Singers, Naracoorte Lucindale Band and combined schools choirs.

An address was given by Sergeant Troy Lines, the ode recited by Ron Reynolds and Lest We Forget read by RSL deputy-president Rob Crowe.

After the formalities many people stayed to watch the commemorative march down Ormerod St.

Cameron Strachan, dressed in World War I period uniform, again rode his horse Bomber to take the audience back to the days of the Light Horse Brigade.

He followed the Naracoorte Pipe Band, veterans, family members and emergency services volunteers as the first rays of daylight touched the buildings and treetops.

The only negative was that the cold meant most people left as soon as the service finished.

"I would have liked to see more people hang around for the march," Mrs Callaghan said. "That would have been nice."

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