Thousands march in Anzac Day parade on Keen St, Lismore, circa 1961.
Thousands march in Anzac Day parade on Keen St, Lismore, circa 1961. The Northern Star Archives

8000 lined the streets on Anzac Day 1966 in Lismore

FIVE decades ago 1000 ex-servicemen marched through Lismore on Anzac Day.

The total number of people in the march was 5000 and the crowd was estimated at more than 8000 people.

More than 1000 people attended the dawn service at the Lismore Memorial Baths.

The day was April 25, 1966, and it was perfectly sunny after a day of heavy rainfall.

Meanwhile at Casino more than 100 ex-servicemen marched to the Dawn Service and in Ballina more than 200 ex-servicemen and other people stood in the pouring rain to take part in the dawn service.

Later that day, 1500 people watched from cars as 140 ex-servicemen took part in the Anzac Day march.

Meanwhile a long-standing tradition was abandoned in place for another. At a luncheon the toast to fallen comrades was replaced by a silent toast.

It consisted of the sounding of the Last Post, a minute's silence, the recitation of the Ode and the sounding of Reveille.

In The Northern Star that day, an editorial about Anzac Day's meaning:

"Anzac Day always will be a day apart, a day unique in the calendar, an occasion when appeal can be made to all that is best in Australia," it wrote.

"Over the years Anzac has come to mean more than a commemoration of the landing at Gallipoli.

"The world today is beset with dangers and uncertainties, but nevertheless, in many ways, it is a better world.

"Nations are showing the inclination to help each other, with the strong coming to the aid of the weak.

"We strive for and prefer to live at peace with all nations, but we must be ready at all times to call on the spirit of Anzac to defend, with our allies, the precious freedoms for which so many have paid the supreme sacrifice."

And a reminder of the Anzac spirit expressed in a poem:

"From the spirit that was Anzac

was born our nationhood,

And should that spirit ever die

Then dies our nationhood.

May we ever mindful be,

Of those who died for you and me,

That this - our land - might still be free,

That you and I may live in peace.

From them our thoughts must never cease,

And from those thoughts may spirits rise,

That turn our hearts towards the skies

To pray ...

That thru toil and useful life,

For those that follow - there be no strife.

Dispel from hearts the lust and greed

That makes for all - the broken reed

And instead - goodwill sow,

That peoples of this world may know

We kept the faith with those now gone,

Whose glorious memory lingers on ...

They to whom upon this day,

Our mourning nation tributes pay,

For they did not shirk good lives to live ...

That ere each day when labours cease,

In every heart may dwell - God's peace."