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Kalamunda keeps Anzac spirit alive

By Breanna Inferrera

IT will be an Anzac Day like no other, but Kalamunda RSL president Geof Irvin has no doubt the Anzac spirit will still burn strong in the City of Kalamunda this year.

Social distancing rules in response to COVID-19 may have forced traditional Anzac Day public services to be cancelled, but the community is being encouraged by the RSLWA to participate in another unique way.   

At 6am on Saturday, April 25, residents can pay tribute to fallen, past and present servicemen and women by lighting a candle and standing at the end of their driveway or on their balcony.

Kalamunda RSL president Geof Irvin said residents can tune in to Kalamunda Community Radio 102.5FM at 5.40am.

“There will be a pre-recorded memorial service,” he said.

“We’ll have a Welcome to Country, our prayers, The Ode, The Last Post and a minute’s silence.”

City mayor Margaret Thomas, who is the player behind the bugle call as part of the pre-recorded memorial service, said she will also play the bugle call live on Anzac Day on her driveway at 30 Kalamunda Road, while her daughter Kelly Bradley will play on her driveway at 107 Canning Road.   

“My daughter and son-in-law both served so it’s really important to all of us,” she said.

“I’ve marched in the parade in Perth for all these years, and I always thought to myself it may die or get left, but it’s just not left.

“People are so appreciative of the people that have served, you see people crying.

“Kalamunda people are the same, so I think we just have to recognise it, we can’t ever forget.”
  Mr Irvin said traditionally, Kalamunda RSL would attract up to 7000 people at its Dawn Service.

“I remember in 1985 having 150 people at the Dawn Service, and now we have more than 7000 people,” he said.

Mr Irvin said Kalamunda RSL would also traditionally conduct small Anzac Day services in local schools a couple of weeks prior to the actual day.

“We talk about Anzac Day and what it means to the children,” he said.

“We have been absolutely gobsmacked by the way the parents have listened to their children and taken to this, which is why we get up to 7000 people coming to Kalamunda.”

He wanted to send an important message to the community.

“We’re the past, we’re the old diggers that fought in Vietnam, Korea, Malaya or Afghanistan,” he said.

“The parents are the present and they’re the ones controlling it, but the children are the future and they’re the ones we work on.

“I am so proud and appreciative of the support we get, people do care and people do take it seriously.”

From 6.30am, RSLWA will stream a special commemoration service on its website www.rslwa.org.au/commemoration/anz
ac-day/ and Facebook page featuring messages from Western Australia Governor Kim Beazley, Premier Mark McGowan, Senator Linda Reynolds, and RSLWA State President Peter Aspinall.

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