ANZAC Day is a big occasion on station. We are lucky at Casey to have three ex-servicemen as part of our wintering team who have seen service variously in Afghanistan, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, the Falkland Islands, the Solomon Islands and elsewhere. This very current and present connection with the ANZAC tradition, combined with many other long traditions of military service in families of expeditioners and the more general place that ANZAC Day holds in the minds of most Australians, meant that was always going to be an important part of our year.
The day started with a gunfire breakfast of rum and coffee at 7:00am, followed by a dawn service at 8.30 (latest dawn service most of us have ever been to) attended by the whole station. The dawn service was very traditional with an introduction from Dave Davies, the ANZAC address by Jason Blackwell and a prayer by Jeb Browne, all ex-servicemen. The reading was read by Station Leader Mark Hunt, and the Ode to the Fallen by Jamie Lowe (BSS), who put a great deal of effort into organising the day’s program. Gavin Melgaard (chef) recited the poem ‘In Flanders Field'. Mike Kennard (dieso) and Dan Vermazen (carpenter) ensured that the flag was where it should be at all times. During the week Dan had made a cross and Jamie a wreath for the ceremony.
After the service, everyone retreated inside for an hour or so of conversation before a hot breakfast and then a couple of hours of two-up and general boisterousness led by Jeb Browne whose two-up calls could be heard the length and breadth of the station. In the afternoon, we settled in to watch the AFL match between Essendon and Collingwood which we could do in very low definition if everyone was off the internet and no-one made a phone call. A loud and enjoyable afternoon was had by everyone. We finished the day with a BBQ dinner.
It was a very special day for the whole station and for many of us it brought ANZAC Day and what it means back into focus.