The first time I attended the Dawn Service at Orchid Beach, I was moved to tears.
Listening to the waves and the birds during a moment of silence; I pictured the young men of Gallipoli and the ways in which their lives and the lives of the families were changed forever that morning.
We were so stirred by the service, it’s become an annual pilgrimage. Each ANZAC morning, we wake sleepy children and put them in their car seats. The clean sand squeaks beneath our tyres as we join the snake of cars driving along the beach. We arrive and take our place in the crowd, and as the casuarinas are backlit by the pre-dawn light, a lone bagpipe player marks the start of proceedings.
The RSL invites a guest speaker to address the reverent rabble that gather each year. A few years back, the speaker shared a poem that I loved. It’s taken me a while and some creative searching, but this year I managed to find the verse. Ironically, the answer was in my wallet the whole time – the poem and its author, Dame Mary Gilmore, are depicted on our ten dollar note. The poem is called No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest.
Tonight we’ll bed our tired children in clothes instead of pyjamas. Tomorrow for a few brief moments, I will be the coolest Mum around when I hand them each an ANZAC biscuit for breakfast.
1 cup oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
¾ cup coconut
2 tbs golden syrup
½ tsp bicarb of soda
1 tbs boiling water
Combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut. Combine butter and golden syrup, stir over gentle heat until melted.
After the service, the members of the Orchid Beach Branch of the RSL will invite those gathered to join them for a rum and milk. The festivities will continue throughout the day. A rowdy game of two-up will take place under the marquee, the flag will fly and the sons of Australia will stand shoulder to shoulder in the sand.