The very moving Dawn Service at Tewantin-Noosa RSL cenotaph.
The very moving Dawn Service at Tewantin-Noosa RSL cenotaph.

Anzac Day services cancelled: RSL will never forget fallen

FOR the first time anyone in Noosa can remember for one of the most solemn occasions of the year - the Anzac Day services will not go ahead, but local RSL sub-branch president Mick Reid said definitely "we will remember them".

In fact in the early hours of the morning and throughout the day on April 25, don't be surprised to see a steady stream of Diggers laying wreaths at the Tewantin Cenitaph to honour their formal comrades.

Mr Reid said the day will be one of mixed emotions but the RSL has been ordered by the Federal Government to cancel all services on the day due to the coronavirus outbreak and the impact of the many thousands of people who pack into the Tewantin for the Dawn Parade and later morning service.

"The Dawn Parade for us is the main part of the day for sure and you have that many people crowded into the square, you just can't risk it in the current environment.

"There's disappointment, there's no doubt about it, but we pause at 6 o'clock every evening every day of the week to remember and honour (the fallen)," he said.

"But for some Anzac Day is the chance to get together with their mates and we feel it's part of our duty to our veterans to look after them," Mr Reid said.

He said all the veterans were "absolutely" welcome to make their own individual observances on the day by laying wreaths "from dawn right through".

"It is part of what people feel and we don't want to interfere with that. It's behoving of us to encourage people to still do that."

Mr Reid said the shame of the viral threat was that this has come on the 100th year celebration of the foundation of the local RSL and for the first time the sub-branch was going to livestream the event to social media with added big screen TVs on site as well for the crowd to have a better close up of some of the events.

"Definitely there is always next year and there will be a next year," Mr Reid said.

He said between 100-120 veterans who march on the day and around 300 veterans involved all up to show their respect.

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester said Anzac Day was one of the most important days on the national calendar, but expert advice within Australia and internationally that large public gatherings present an unacceptable risk to the community could not be ignored.

"This decision has not been made lightly and has taken into consideration a number of key factors, primarily concerns about the welfare of Australians and other visitors travelling to Anzac Day services as well as views of host nations regarding visitors and large gatherings, the impact on health systems of overseas nations, and the welfare of staff and contractors travelling overseas," Mr Chester said.