Melbourne – ANZAC Day – 25th April 2022

So, what have been up to for the last week. Once again, we are enjoying the beautiful weather. We had best not rub that in as we heard that Calgary had a spring snow storm which dumped 22 cm – pleased we missed that one.

The immediate family took a few of Trevor’s (Fraser’s father) ashes and dispersed them on the grounds of Northcote High which is the school he attended. He always spoke fondly of his time there, so it was thought it a fitting place. As he had donated his body to medical research there were not meant to be ashes to have disperse but covid put a kybosh on that donation. At the end of Easter, all the family scattered to either Adelaide, Sydney and Hobart whilst we stayed in Melbourne.

The early part of the week was spent catching our breath and visiting Aunty Jen who is in a care home.  We also caught up with good friends Belinda, Dom and Shelly and Sam. Lots of lovely daily walks around the many parks each day and catching the autumnal changes.

Fraser’s youngest niece moved down to Hobart in Tasmania earlier this year but still had some of her chattels in Melbourne. So, her very kind Uncle Fraser helped with the packing and shipment of said items. It also included removalists being managed to repack and transfer goods into another container for transfer on the Spirit of Australia which is the ship that goes between Melbourne and Devonport which is the northern port in Tasmania.

Whilst waiting for the removalists, we wandered the storage facility and noted this chubby little fellow trying to look unobtrusive – think he failed miserably. We spent the rest of this busy day catching up with Fraser’s second cousin who we haven’t seen since our last visit down under.

There had been arrangements made for Barbara and ourselves to make a day trip up to the town of Daylesford which is 150k northwest of Melbourne to visit some family friends who attended the wake. It is a gorgeous little town tucked into a valley and surprisingly very green considering the time of the year. This is a very typical pub in Australia. They are always on a corner and the centre pieces of small towns in particular.

Spent some warm and sunny time walking around the small local lake.  Barb use to visit this area with her parents as a young child and reminisced with us about her trips.

Maurice the Maggy (magpie). These guys are serious swoopers who will rip off you cap and draw blood during nesting season.

One very talented Barista!!

Once back in the big smoke it was then time to do some further exploring around the city. When they held the F1 Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago, it was around Albert Park Lake which is two blocks from Barb’s apartment. Most of the fencing, bleachers and all the other paraphernalia had been taken down so we were able to have a walk around the lake. It took us a good hour or so with a coffee break half way around.

You get a great view of the city skyline from the lake but don’t really think that this video does it justice.

Sunday, we had a nice surprise as both Fraser’s brother came over from Adelaide as he is participating in the ANZAC ceremony in Geelong and his sister Amanda returned from Tasmania on her way back up to north West Australia on Monday. We took this opportunity to go out and have a Sunday lunch at the Derby Hotel where Amanda’s eldest daughter works.

It was a fare of good old fish and chips. This is the last time they will all be together until who knows when. It is quite remarkable that we managed to get everyone together which involved five Australian states and two countries. Quite a remarkable feat.

For the Antipodeans, what we are about to write about is known knowledge, whilst for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, some of this will be new whilst others will have had a bit of a glimpse into it.

25th April is ANZAC day.  ANZAC’s landed on the beaches of Gallipoli, Turkey on this day at dawn in 1915 with unimageable loss of life. Each year at dawn, all over New Zealand and Australia and many places around the world, are services with parades later in the morning. We always make an effort to attend the service held in Calgary each year.

This year it was an honour to be able to attend the dawn service in Melbourne. As you can imagine, there were no formal ceremonies for the last two years though people did come out onto their porches at dawn with a lit candle. The crowd was anticipated to be 20,000 but 50,000 were actually in attendance.

Following the ceremony, we went into the Shrine and placed a poppy. Usually, the poppy is only associated with Remembrance Day on the 11th November but tradition is now being updated and poppies are now being seen on ANZAC day.

We found the Ode to the Fallen, taped to the lectern and read out at the ceremony. Fitting for us in that the author of those words was John McCrae, the Canadian – we wonder how many Aussies and Kiwis are aware of that.

The Last Post was truly haunting to listen to.

It was 7c with beautiful clear and blue sky which just made for such a memorable morning. War is not to be glorified but to be remembered “Lest We Forget”.


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