20,000 pay respects

LEST WE FORGET: The Burnie Anzac Day parade underway yesterday. Pictures: Katrina Dodd. The Railton ANZAC Day Dawn Service. Picture: Kelly Slater.
HangZhou Night Net

NEARLY 20,000 Coasters paid tribute to our service men and women yesterday at services around the region.

Ulverstone recorded its highest number of attendees for several years with about 4000 attending its main service.

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Devonport also broke some attendance records, with 3000 making their way to Victoria Pde for the 6am dawn service.

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State RSL president Bill Kaine said it was pleasing to see the numbers were increasing.

“Late in the ’90s it wasn’t looking too good,” Mr Kaine said.

“Numbers were dropping a little bit.”

Mr Kaine said a program, established in the mid-90s could be responsible for the increase of people attending Anzac Day services.

The program was aimed at engaging young people with Anzac Day through memorial activities.

Two important trends emerged from services across the Coast – the number of young people and the number of new ex-servicemen were significantly on the rise.

“What we’re seeing is more and more youth are coming on board,” he said.

“There’s a building of commemorative activities that are emerging as part of RSL programs, designed to engage youth.”

An unexpected side effect of the positive impact Anzac Day is having on young people on the North-West is a decrease in vandalism of cenotaphs across the Coast.

“We’ve had some problems in the North but in recent years we haven’t seen much damage on the North-West Coast.

“We haven’t seen as much desecration to memorials and that’s a good thing.”

In addition, Mr Kaine said that he thought more and more ex-servicemen were retiring to the Coast, which could have contributed to the increase of such people attending and participating in services.

“A lot of people who’ve seen service are coming back for a bit of the quiet life,” Mr Kaine said.

“Tasmania is a lovely place to be.”

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.


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