The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Light Up The Dawn

In 1927 a group of returned men returning at dawn from an Anzac Day function held the night before came upon an elderly woman laying flowers at the  as yet  unfinished Sydney Cenotaph. Joining her in this private remembrance, the men later resolved to institute a dawn service the following year. Some 150 people gathered at the Cenotaph in 1928 for a wreath-laying and two minutes' silence. This is generally regarded as the beginning of organised dawn services.

Source: Australian War Memorial

The first Anzac Day dawn service was a simple affair. A small group of returned servicemen keeping vigil with an old woman laying flowers at an unfinished war memorial. For many years afterwards, returned servicemen, grieving widows and children gathered locally, laid flowers, lit candles and prayed in silence. There were no loudspeakers, national anthems, flags or bugles. Simply a light in the darkness and silent fellowship.

Almost a century later, at the height of the Corona virus pandemic, Australians and New Zealanders kept a simple vigil once again. At 6am on the 25th April people emerged from their homes into the darkness with bright candles and copies of the Ode in hand and joined in the silent fellowship. In a world unrecognisable to the original Anzacs, people still remember and give thanks for the sacrifices of men and women who serve their country.

Amongst those keeping the dawn vigil this year were many Scotch boys. Photographs of them in school uniform, some wearing family medals, are included in our online assemblies this week.


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