Tag Archives: Warrandyte RSL

Remembering our Anzacs, as a community

This year on Anzac Day, the marching, the bagpipes, the veterans, the crowds and the choir were notably absent from the Warrandyte RSL.

However, at 10:45am on Saturday, April 25, RSL President David Ryan, begun his Anzac Day service introduction, and dozens of homes in and around Warrandyte heard his words, as the 2020 Warrandyte Anzac Day service was livestreamed for the first time in its history, in a collaboration between Warrandyte RSL, the Warrandyte Diary and 42K Media.

Warrandyte RSL has faced a number of challenges surrounding its Anzac Day service in the past few years.

In 2017, the memorial was vandalised the day before the service, with anti-anarchist graffiti.

In 2018, the RSL balcony, which is usually reserved for wheelchair bound veterans during the service, was condemned and had to be closed for repairs.

On both occasions, the branch, and members of the community pooled their resources and came together to ensure these challenges were merely bumps on the road to “another respectful service”.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions we have all be living with since mid-March threatened Warrandyte’s traditional service.

It became apparent very quickly that the traditional mass march from Whipstick Gully, followed by moving service complete with choir, bugler, bagpipes and sandwiches at the RSL after, would not be possible.

All over the state, country and world, public Anzac Day services were cancelled.

Officially, there was still reduced services at the Shrine of Remembrance and the Australian War Memorial, while Australians everywhere were asked to join in with the Dawn Service and Stand To in their driveways.

In Warrandyte, families stood with lit candles by the roadside, some even played the Last Post on trumpets and bagpipes.

Warrandyte RSL had planned on holding a small, private service at the Warrandyte War Memorial on Saturday 25th, but a chance meeting between Warrandyte branch President David “Rhino” Ryan and Sandra Miller, a former Army Reservist and cofounder of local video production company 42K Media, set in motion an idea which would allow our local community to participate in a local Anzac Day service from their living-rooms.

Using a series of 4G mobile internet routers, 42K Media was able to harness enough bandwidth to successfully stream the full 30-minute service.

On the Friday before Anzac Day, Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith laid a wreath and paid his respects at the cenotaph, and Mullum Mullum Ward Councillor, Andrew Conlon, inadvertently became part of the ceremony when he turned up to lay Manningham Council’s wreath on Saturday morning.

As well as readings by the RSL President, and Community Church Pastor Andrew Fisher, traditional hymns, songs and the Last Post were played from recordings.

The speeches, songs, prayers, wreath-laying and the two minute’s silence were all recorded on camera and between the livestream and the post-produced video, the service has been watched thousands of times.

With services being cancelled everywhere, this Anzac Day was always going to be different, but thanks to some local inspiration, a dose of technological ingenuity, and a pinch of luck (especially with the internet), Warrandyte was able to mark Anzac Day 2020 in its own special way.

You can watch the service on the Warrandyte Diary’s Facebook page, or YouTube Channel: bit.ly/DiaryTV

 

 

Anzac Day

They were all answering the Call of the Dardanelles,

Little did they know, they were entering a living hell.

The brave ANZAC’s, marched up the hill,

With their aim, freedom and to kill.

Fighting for our freedom,

With their families at home, who really, really need them.

At Gallipoli, 10,000 ANZACs lost their lives,

While a small amount of them, only just survive.

As the Reveille played, get them up in the morn’,

As they thought about what would happen after dawn.

They slowly chewed on the Anzac biscuits that their families had made,

As they hid in the trenches, extremely afraid.

For the families whose daddies, brothers and husbands who went to war,

And for those who didn’t come back, their heart is so sore.

The Poppy’s laid over the soldiers, who were laid to rest,

May all of the ANZACS, be well and truly blessed.

At the Anzac Day parade, the soldiers march, strong and tall,

These are the people, who answered the call.

Liam, Our Lady of the Pines Primary School

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stand apart but together for our Anzacs

Photo: Bill McAuley

IN THIS EVER-CHANGING climate of uncertainty, social distancing and working from home I would like to remind you of the importance of looking after those around us.

As the President of the Warrandyte RSL I would like to call on you all as a community to ensure we are caring for our families, friends, veterans, members of Anzac House and the elderly.

The priority of the Warrandyte RSL is to support veterans and their families during the coming months and difficult times ahead.

If you are aware of a veteran or family member who requires assistance, please contact us on (03) 9844 3567.

We will endeavour to do our best to support those in need.

In some cases, you may be required to request additional support from RSL Victoria.

They can be contacted on:
(03) 9655 5555.

Anzac Day

The Warrandyte RSL traditional Anzac Day service will be very different to what most of us are used to.

The community march along the main road to the Memorial RSL grounds has been cancelled.

Warrandyte RSL will hold a Commemorative Service, but we ask our local community to stay at home.

Anzac Day is not cancelled; we are asking families to commemorate the day at home by watching or listening to the Dawn Service on television, the internet, or on the radio.

We are also asking people to participate with a Stand-To gesture.

At the time of the Last Post bugle call, we are asking members of the community to stand to attention at the end of their driveway, or on their veranda, balcony or deck, with their right hand on their heart and then to stay there, with their head bowed for the one minute’s silence which follows.

It would also be great if families and individuals could take a selfie of themselves doing this and share it on social media with the hashtag #STANDTO.

Musicians are being urged to play the Last Post on their lawn at 6am.

Anzac Day can be a deep, meaningful and nearly spiritual experience for everyone.

While it is primarily the recognition of the camaraderie, mateships and sacrifices made by the ANZACs.

Remembering their sacrifice is particularly relevant given the sacrifices we are all being asked to make during this time, as the whole of humanity does what it can to combat the spread of COVID-19.

This year, we are unable to sell Anzac badges locally, at schools, or on the street.

We shall, however have tins (for donations), and Anzac Badges available at the counters at Quinton’s SUPA IGA.

If members of the community would like to buy the limited-edition Anzac biscuit tin, please ring the Warrandyte RSL on (03) 9844 3567.

 

ANZAC: The story of “Turkish” Charlie Ryan

By DON HUGHES

I THOUGHT I knew the ANZAC story well but recently stumbled upon a new insight — the story of Charlie Ryan.

He was born at Killeen Station just north of Melbourne in 1853.

The son of a grazier, Charlie dedicated his life to medicine and the care of others.

He graduated as a surgeon from the University of Edinburgh in 1875.

Seeking adventure, Charlie sought medical experience with the Turkish Army in Constantinople (now Istanbul).

However, the Russo-Turkish war of 1877–1878 broke out and Charlie found himself in the Balkans at the siege of Plevna as a young military doctor.

Despite his brave caring of the wounded, he was eventually captured by the Russians at another front in Eastern Turkey.

After the war, Turkey honoured Charlie’s distinguished service with the Order of Mejidiye (4th class) and the Order of Osmanli, the second highest order in the Ottoman Empire.

A hero to the people of Turkey, he returned home to Melbourne in 1878 to become a successful civilian doctor.

He also was made the representative — similar to an ambassador — of the Ottoman Empire in Australia for some years.

He still liked army life and continued as a Captain in the Volunteer Medical Service.

Charlie was the doctor who tendered the wounded bushranger Ned Kelly, and after his execution — declared him deceased.

At the outbreak of World War 1, Charlie enlisted as the Senior Doctor for the 1st Division, Australian Imperial Force (AIF), and landed in Egypt just after his 61st birthday.

He had enlisted to fight the Germans.

Aboard the troopships bound for the ANZAC landings at a dinner for senior officers Charlie knew more than anyone how hard the Turks would fight to defend their homeland.

It prompted him to state: “If, after 40 years, I am now about to fight them, it is not because of a feeling of enmity, but because of orders I have received as a soldier”.

Clambering up the steep cliffs of Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, Charlie and the ANZACs landed on the peninsula to face the Turkish commander, Mustafa Kemal and his troops.

On May 19, the Turks launched a major attack which became a slaughter; over 3,000 Turks lay dead in no man’s land.

Both armies wanted to bury the dead as the putrid smell had become unbearable.

A one-day cease fire was declared on May 24 and on that day, both sides buried their dead in shallow graves.

This was the first time; the Turks and Australians came face to face and talked to each other.

There are diary entries about swapping Turkish tobacco for bully beef.

Respectfully, the seeds of comradeship between two countries were sown on that day — this still thrives today.

Charlie Ryan carefully attached his Ottoman Medals and, armed with only a box camera, proceeded to direct his medical staff tending the wounded.

Some Turks became seething, thinking he had stolen the decorations.

In an unused Turkish voice of 40 years, the distinguished looking doctor was able to placate the situation.

All stopped their gruesome tasks, time seemed suspended, the Turks remembered the “Hero of the battle of 93” — Charles “Plevna” Ryan.

Shortly after this infamous armistice, Charlie contracted dysentery and typhoid.

He recovered and was knighted by the King in 1916 and appointed the senior doctor of the Australian Army until November 11, 1918.

Charlie was the hero of two countries.

Major General Sir Charles Snodgrass Ryan KBE, CB, CMG, VD, died on October 23, 1926.

Turkish Charlie Ryan: Canakkale’s Anzac Hero written by John Gillam and Yvonne Fletcher, and beautifully illustrated by Lillian Webb, was published in 2018.

It is a wonderful book straddling this defining story of a little-known hero for both countries and it is a story every Australian should know, and cherish.

A copy of the book, as well as a special package for teachers can be purchased from
www.friendsofgallipoli.org

 

The true meaning of Anzac Day

By DON HUGHES

WHEN ON United Nations Peacekeeping and Demining operations in Africa in 1994/5, I had the unique and pleasant opportunity, to spend a few days on leave at the spectacular Victoria Falls.

Going for a pre-dawn stroll, on Anzac Day in 1995, to pay my respects, I came upon three fellow visitors to this magnificent natural wonder.

The first was a tourist from Japan, we exchanged cordial pleasantries.

Next, was a robust and jovial German on his first trip to Africa — we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.

Finally, I bumped into an outgoing and friendly South African Boer, who was visiting the amazing Victoria Falls for the first time.

It made me reflect deeply — as these men were all former enemies of Australia.

It also made me reflect on the mammoth task of trying to rid a country (Mozambique) of the appalling remnants of war (landmines).

It took 20 years for Mozambique to be the first severely landmine affected country in the world to be declared “landmine free”.

How long does it take to declare ourselves free of the other effects of war?

Just before Sir “Weary” Dunlop, the great Australian Prisoner of War Doctor, passed away in 1993, I had the honour of hearing him speak at a formal regimental dinner at the Oakleigh Army Barracks.

He spoke with reverence and sincerity, of the need to forgive past enemies.

Despite witnessing horrendous atrocities during the latter campaigns of the Second World War, he had come to the understanding — that forgiveness is probably the greatest of human attributes.

War is the result of deep divides in society, and it is in peace, where we heal those divides, that our true spirit lives.

Large turnout at 103rd Anzac Day

Photo: STEPHEN REYNOLDS

DESPITE THE dwindling ranks of veterans, numbers continue to swell to commemorate Anzac Day.

On April 25 around a dozen former serving soldiers, sailors and airmen gathered at Whipstick Gully for the annual march to the Warrandyte RSL.

They were joined in their journey by an over 100-strong contingent of family, friends and community members. Representatives of all levels of government joined the march, led by a WWII Indian motorcycle together with lone piper, Casey McSwain.

Police, CFA, the Warrandyte Football Club as well as Scouts and Girl Guides showed their respect for servicemen and women by joining the march along Yarra Street, an effort that was appreciated by WWII veteran Don Haggarty.

“It is so good to see the young people here,” he told the Diary.

His son, Chris Haggarty, a volunteer at South Warrandyte CFA agreed, noting that it is important for the young people to “help keep the tradition alive”.

State Member for Warrandyte, Ryan Smith said that he commends the RSL for allowing “the evolution of the march to include family members who are here to support the veterans”.

The children who participated in the parade had been learning the history of Anzac Day and the Gallipoli campaign in the lead-up to the commemoration.

“We are here to remember the Anzacs from Gallipoli,” one young Guide said, proudly displaying her knowledge that Anzac stood for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

As the marchers stepped off they were encouraged along the route by an estimated 200 people lining Yarra Street, and met by a further 800 people to participate in the commemorative service.

The Catafalque Guard was provided by Melbourne University Regiment and as they took their positions around the cenotaph, RSL president David Ryan commenced the service. Mr Ryan noted that it was the 103rd anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli “where hundreds died and thousands were injured”.

The gathering also commemorated 100 years since the second battle of Villers-Bretonneux on the Western Front “where Australian and British troops drove the Germans out of the town in a daring night attack at a cost of 1500 casualties”.

The Bellbird singers provided musical leadership for the hymns and anthems sung during the service, and Barry Carozzi performed the stirring Eric Bogle ballad, In Flanders Field. A very moving address was read by John Byrne.

Mr Byrne concluded his address with the poem A Soldier Died Today.

David Ryan said he was delighted to see the large crowd turn out to commemorate “the sacrifice that men, women and families at home and abroad have endured from pre WWI to today with the War on Terror, United Nations and humanitarian conflicts”.

Mr Ryan told the Diary, he was delighted with the growing turnout, “I am just relieved that we didn’t have the problems with vandalism we had last year”.

Page 18-19 of the May Warrandyte Diary has a full colour photo spread of the day and a transcription of Mr Bryne’s speech

Vandals fail to break Warrandyte’s spirit

THE WARRANDTYE community awoke to the sad news that the RSL memorial had been vandalised overnight.
The graffiti displayed the symbol for anarchy and the words “War is Murder”.
While vandalism is always a hurtful act, the defacing of the RSL’s war memorial on the eve of Anzac Day was felt particularly strong within the community.
The council were quick to act and soda-blasted the offending marks.
However, this process also strips the gold trim out of the words on the memorial.
Stephen Papal from Advanced Stone, a company that specialises in the making bespoke headstones and memorials, contacted the RSL directly to volunteer his company’s services and restore the memorial back to its former glory.
“I know what it’s like for RSLs and clubs to try and find the money to cover up something that’s been vandalised.
“I rang them because I knew they’d soda-blast it, the process should be to sand it and touch up where the graffiti has been.
“This will look magnificent tomorrow”, said Mr Papal.

Stephen and Ben Papal from Advanced Stone volunteering their services

Local Member of Parliament, Ryan Smith also visited the memorial to see the damage for himself and personally thank the men who had come out to undo the damage.
In an interview with the Warrandyte Diary, Mr Smith expressed his appal on last night’s criminal act.
“It’s just completely appalling that this has happened in Warrandyte, the vandals that did this — the very freedom that they are making a statement against were fought for by the people remembered at this memorial… that this has happened in Warrandyte is just disgraceful.”
Mr Henk Van Der Helm, President of the Warrandyte RSL stated: “We are pretty disgusted with this act but we’ve been able to clear it off”.
The Warrandyte RSL have decided to pay for security around the War Memorial tonight over concerns that the publicity that has been generated may encourage the “ratbags” to return.
Mr Van Der Helm is confident that the Anzac day ceremony will go ahead, as planned, tomorrow morning.
Victoria Police have issued a public appeal for information relating to the vandalism of the memorial, acting Sergeant Nick Bailey stated: “It’s sad to see this attempt to diminish the spirit of the ANZACs with this disrespectful act.”
If you have any information regarding last nights graffiti, please contact Crimestoppers on:
1800 333 000
Despite the attempts to deface the Warrandyte memorial, the RSL’s Anzac Day service will go ahead tomorrow morning, as planned.
The march will start from Whipstick Gully at 10:30am with a service to follow from 11am.

Five For Friday (March 13)

1. For goodness sake don’t walk under a ladder and trip over a black cat! It’s Friday the 13th! But Saturday offers a much sweeter proposition with the Strawberry Fair at St Anne’s in Park Orchards, so grab your slap bands and dive into the giant superslide, trackless train, cha cha and more. Oh yeah, and there’ll be strawberry treats galore.

2. Warrandyte RSL is rocking up a storm tonight from 8pm with Rodeo Clowns, while the Grand Hotel will be pumping to the tunes of Peter Grant.

3. Warranwood Art Show is on all weekend at Oak Hall at the Melbourne Rudolph Steiner School in Wonga Rd from 10am-4pm – unmissable. Some fantastic art on display and for sale, visit www.warrandwoodartshow.com.au for more info.

4. BLATANT PLUG for a loyal Diary advertiser – Billanook College is offering student led tour of the campus on Thursday from 10.30am, so RSVP by contacting the registrar on 9724 1179.

5. The flags are up, the program is in the Diary available online and at Quinton’s IGA, and excitement is at bursting point. Yes, save your money, your appetite and your energy for the greatest annual festival on the planet next weekend – the Warrandyte Festival!