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Anzac Day lanterns unite neighbours

Anzac Day lanterns
Bundaberg Region residents are asking their neighbours to join them in commemorating 25 April by creating their own Anzac Day lanterns. Innes Park resident Kelly Austin made this Anzac Day lantern with her son Sam.

Bundaberg Region residents are hoping to light up the whole community with Anzac Day lanterns for the national day of remembrance.

With Coronavirus social distancing restrictions in place, Anzac Day services around the country have been cancelled, leaving many residents to come up with alternative ways to commemorate the occasion.

Innes Park residents Kelly and Troy Austin have both had family members serve in the armed forces and believe it's important to remember and give thanks to past and present military personnel.

Normally the family of three would observe Anzac Day by attending the local dawn service, with Troy marching with his station crew from the Bargara Auxiliary Firefighters, before they join other families to have breakfast together.

This year Kelly and her three-year-old son Sam have created Anzac Day lanterns that will be placed on their driveway for the Anzac Day dawn service while they listen to The Ode, The Last Post and take part in one minute silence followed by the reveille.

“Anzac Day is about gratitude and honour,” Kelly said.

“As individuals and a country, it is vital that we say thank you to our past and present service personal, that we recognise what their sacrifice has meant both collectively and individually and that we reflect on events that have shaped our nation.

“It is also important that the next generation understands the Anzac spirit.”

Kelly said Sam knows that Anzac Day is about giving thanks to those who made our country free.

“We will watch a few kids clips about Anzac Day over the next week and we have already been reading books in the lead-up,” she said.

“He will be part of the service on the driveway and he has requested to make Anzac biscuits.

“It makes me proud to be an Aussie. Australians are known for our mateship and comradeship – that is part of the ANZAC spirit itself but despite current crisis, our community and country have still found a way to show respect, give thanks and remember the sacrifice that others have made for us today. 

“We have adapted a way to show our gratitude for an extremely important reason. We are a blessed nation.”

Anzac Day lanterns
Burnett Heads resident Tracie Regan is encouraging her neighbours to take part in the Anzac Day dawn service with an Anzac Day lantern.

Lanterns to shine across Bundaberg Region

Kelly said they invited their close neighbours to take part by standing on their driveways and wearing a medal, lighting a candle of remembrance, an Anzac Day lantern or a torch at 6am.

Burnett Heads resident Tracie Regan also encouraged her neighbours to take part in the Anzac Day dawn service with an Anzac Day lantern by lighting a tealight candle inside an empty milk carton that has been decorated with a red poppy to show respect.

“All of the neighbours are pretty keen to do this,” Tracie said.

“It is really easy to make an Anzac Day lantern and can be done in under 10 minutes.

“I though it would also be a good activity for the children while they are staying home from school.”

How to create your own Anzac Day lantern

Tracie said first cut a plastic two or three litre milk carton in half then wash it out and allow it to dry.

While the milk carton is drying either print out a poppy flower image from the internet or draw one on a piece of paper.

Once the milk carton is dry, place the poppy image inside the milk carton and use permanent markers to trace the flower onto the outside of the carton before colouring it in.

Then on Anzac Day weigh the carton down with sand in the bottom, before placing a tea light candle inside, ready to be lit for the dawn service.

Visit Bundaberg Now Facebook at 10am on Saturday, 25 April to participate in a locally produced Anzac Day video commemoration for the Bundaberg Region.