Bundaberg Region Anzac Day 2019 commemorated

Childers Anzac Parade
Veterans lead the Anzac Parade in Childers.

Thousands of people attended Anzac Day commemorations across the Bundaberg Region despite light rain and overcast conditions.

Bundaberg Region Anzac Day 2019
A solemn moment at the Bundaberg Dawn Service. Picture: David Batt MP

Poignant ceremonies began just after 4am at Bucca and Bundaberg and continued through to this afternoon at Burnett Heads.

A dwindling number of World War II veterans were honoured for their service.

In Canberra, Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove said: “For service past, for those who serve today, Anzac Day always has, and always will be, about those who serve, their stories and the sacrifices they make. It is on their conscience and courage that we live as we do and aspire for peace and prosperity for future generations. Lest we forget.”

In Brisbane, Governor Paul de Jersey led the Dawn Service at Anzac Square. “We stand together today to show our gratitude and respect, our pride, and our sorrow,” he said.

Bundaberg Caledonian Pipe Band at the Moore Park Beach Anzac Day civic service.
Bundaberg Caledonian Pipe Band at the Moore Park Beach Anzac Day civic service.

Nurse Norma Mowbray honoured

Nurse Norma Mowbray
Sister Norma Violet Mowbray

Former Bundaberg woman Norma Violet Mowbray today had her name added to the Bundaberg War Nurses Memorial 103 years after she died in Egypt.

Norma was born at St George in 1883 and attended Mrs Boyle's High School for Girls in Bundaberg.

She was a daughter of Mr T Mowbray, a former Police Magistrate for Bundaberg.

Bucca Dawn Service

The Bucca Dawn Service included a 21-gun salute — believed to be the only live fire by non-military personnel in Australia.

Speaking at the ceremony, divisional councillor Wayne Honor shared a few words written by a Queenslander who went ashore on that first day at Gallipoli.

The words were those of Eric Harold Rapkins who enlisted in the Australian Army on October 21, 1914 at the age of 23.

He wrote on 26 April 1915: “Landed last night. There are plenty wounded. I have carried some dead ‘uns. The shrapnel from the Turks is flying over as I write. The Turks bombarded us all day. We lost a few men. One of our sergeants got shot through the brain. Shrapnel has done a lot of damage to us. There are a hell of a lot of killed and wounded.”

On April 27 he wrote: “Late last night we advanced and entrenched. Under fire all night. No sleep for two nights and one day. I'm only just out of hospital. Bob Andrews was shot dead this evening. The Turks shelled all day and at night tried to take the trench. We were fighting all night; another night's sleep lost. I lost nearly all my mates. Only one out of my tent is living now.”

Eric returned from Gallipoli deafened by a nearby exploding shell. He was discharged as medically unfit. After the war he became a lighthouse keeper manning lighthouses at Sandy Cape, Low Isles, North Reef, Bustard Head and Cape Capricorn.

Plagued by ill health Eric Rapkins died in 1947 at the age of 55 years.

“Eric’s story mirrors the experiences of so many who served during the Gallipoli campaign and in other phases of the First World War,” Cr Honor said.

“Today is a time for reflection. Remembering their service, their gallantry, their sacrifice.

“What these men did and what continues to be done by our serving men and women ensures it remains incumbent on us all to respect and perpetuate the traditions of Anzac Day. The story must be told and retold.”

Bundaberg Vietnam War tribute

Local musician Pete O'Brien went live on Facebook today with this cover of the famous Redgum Vietnam War song, I Was Only 19.

Posted by Pete OBrien on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Bundaberg Civic Service Parade

World War II veteran Fred Bainbridge took the salute during the Bundaberg Civic Service parade.
World War II veteran Fred Bainbridge took the salute during the Bundaberg Civic Service parade. Photo: James MacDonald

More Anzac Day coverage

ABC Wide Bay provided extensive coverage of services in the Bundaberg Region.

Bundaberg Now has published photos on Facebook. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

Elliott Heads Dawn Service
Elliott Heads Dawn Service. Photo: Cr Scott Rowleson