ON APRIL 25, many people will attend a commemorative service or see one on television. But Anzac Day is far more than a commemoration at a cenotaph. Every soldier, sailor, airman, nurse came from a home life somewhere. So many did not return and so many others returned with lifetime disabilities, either physical, mental or both.
The intent of Bass Coast’s Anzac Heritage Trail is to help us all learn more about those members of our community who have gone to war in the service of our nation in the past 100 years, as well as reflecting on their families who stayed at home, did the extra work and then welcomed their service personnel home again.
There is much to see around our shire that pays tribute to the freedom we so rightly celebrate.
We hope Bass Coast Shire’s heritage trail gives people more insight into the price of responding to national calls for military interventions over the past 100 years.
The heritage trail was made possible by the efforts of many people across many organisations in the shire.
What to see and do
- Cemeteries: Look for headstones and plaques that tell some of the story of those who returned to a community life after their service life. Please take some time to just pause and reflect.
- Historical societies/genealogy groups: Across the shire, there are many displays highlighting war service and home service.
- National Vietnam Veterans Museum: An amazing place to help in understanding this war.
- RSLs: Excellent sources of huge amounts of information.
- Community halls: Read the honour boards.
- Cenotaphs: Read the names and note how many died in defending us.
- Spirit of ANZAC Exhibition, Cowes Cultural Centre:Brilliant art, photography and poetry on the theme of Anzac, plus heritage displays from the Australian Red Cross and Vietnam Veterans.
- Talk to a veteran: Go and say g’day and thanks.
- During your journey: Somewhere along the road, find a spot with a lovely view and reflect on how many local young men went off in the service of our country and never returned to appreciate this very view. In some cases, the last view of the places these beautiful young people called home was the one you are taking in at this time.
Mal McCann is a member of Bass Coast’s 2015 ANZAC working party.