Commemorating Anzac Day in 2020 was a little different for the residents of the small villages of Kearsley and Abernethy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result of the strict social distancing restrictions implemented by the Federal and NSW Government to slow the spread of the virus, public events exceeding more than two people were prohibited.
This meant that Anzac Day dawn services across the nation were significantly altered, preventing the usual public commemoration. Naturally, this made it difficult for residents of Kearsley and Abernethy to commemorate the contribution and sacrifices of Australian service personnel.
To ensure the local community were still afforded the opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by local men and women who had served in the Australian armed forces, the Kearsley Community Dawn Service Committee arranged for a small dawn service to be broadcast throughout the communities of Kearsley and Abernethy.
In the grounds of the Arthur Francis CSC OAM Remembrance Garden, two Committee members conducted the service, which was broadcast to the community through a number of speakers.
Local residents adopted a position at the end of their driveways, with a torch or candle, and participated in the service, which included the Last Post, a minutes silence and the Reveille.
“Despite the relative small size of Kearsley and Abernethy, our community has been home to many Australian service personnel over the last century” Committee Chair Jordan Fallon said.
“Although, as a community, we are temporarily isolated, it was important we still joined together – from the comfort of our own homes – to honour and remember these service men and women”.
The Committee’s founder, Dale Goldie OAM, laid a wreath at the base of the Cenotaph during the service on behalf of the residents of Kearsley and Abernethy.
“Many people I’ve spoken to in recent weeks have been disappointed there wouldn’t be a chance for them to honour those locals who had served during periods of conflict and peace. By arranging a socially distanced service, it allowed our local community the opportunity to still commemorate” Mr Goldie said.
By Jordan Fallon