Living on Lord Howe Island


ANZAC Day on Lord Howe Island

Posted by Dani Rourke – Thursday, April 25, 2013

ANZAC Day on Lord Howe Island

I’ve always loved the ANZAC Day service at Lord Howe. It’s held every year at 11:00am at the cenotaph on Lagoon Road, just outside the Gower Wilson Memorial Hospital. Lagoon Road is closed off for an hour or so and there’s someone on “point duty” making sure that no one accidentally rides their bike through the service. The crowd starts to gather around 10:45 and almost everyone attends. There are a few seats for the oldies, a microphone and a PA system and an organ on the back of a truck. Sprigs of rosemary are handed around and people mill around on the road and chat until the march begins.

The veterans (and, these days, the children and grandchildren of veterans) march down Lagoon Road followed by the children from the Lord Howe Island Central School. The kids are all wearing the proper school uniform – with bare feet. Together, they march up to the war memorial and there’s a short but very dignified service including prayers led by both the visiting Anglican minister and the Seventh Day Adventist pastor, Chappy. We sing the same two hymns every year: Abide With Me and Recessional, accompanied by Clive Wilson on the organ. The school kids sing a song too. The RSL Sub-Branch President lays a wreath made of hibiscus, as do the School Captains. Sometimes there’s a visiting dignitary to give the ANZAC Day address, but this year it was given by Lisa Makiiti, an elected Lord Howe Island Board member. Lisa’s address was sincere and heartfelt. She spoke about the sacrifice made by the ANZACs and the relevance of the ANZAC legacy today. She also paid tribute to her late brother, Dean Retmock, who served with the RAAF for 25 years and marched every year in the ANZAC Day service at Lord Howe. The service finishes with Advance Australia Fair.

Remember Luke’s 96 year old Uncle Bob? He is interviewed on The Desert War which will be screened tonight on ABC1 at 8:30pm (Sydney time – that’s 9:00pm on Lord Howe). So please tune in if you can!


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About Dani Rourke

HELP! I have 2 children, 25 staff and up to 75 guests. I was a lawyer for 10 years, but escaped. My husband and I moved from Sydney to beautiful Lord Howe Island to run Pinetrees Lodge, which has been in my family for 6 generations. I'm writing about family business, island life and the whole work/family disaster. Did someone say balance? When I'm not writing, my lovely staff do it for me - they see more of the island than I do.

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