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Friday, May 24, 2024

Anzac Hill flag-raising ceremony

Last Wednesday evening, on the eve of Anzac Day, nearly 100 people gathered atop Anzac Hill, with a commanding view of Maldon township below. This setting, adjacent to the Avenue of Honour adorned with white crosses, hosted a poignant flag-raising ceremony, arguably one of our most stirring local commemorations. Surprisingly, it remains one of our least known; many residents admitted to The TT that they were unaware of its existence.

The event was vibrant and evocative. Bill and Isabella Bates, adorned in the uniforms of WWI Diggers and nurses as they often do, added a touch of authenticity to the proceedings, with Bill punctuating the ceremony with three rounds fired from his rifle. Piper Langley Rowbottom’s mastery of the pipes added an extra layer of solemnity to the occasion. Lachlan Cullum from Parks Victoria, introduced by RSL President Kevin Moschetti, expertly hosted the event. Marie Bell, the keynote speaker, recounted the captivating tale of Maldon’s Private Harry Johnson, an amateur photographer who carried his photography equipment to the battlefield. Bugler Daniel Clarke, much sought after during this season, delivered haunting renditions of The Last Post and Reveille, while Neil Buck conducted the flag-raising.

Both Federal and State MPs, Lisa Chesters and Maree Edwards, honored the occasion with their presence. As attendees gratefully retreated to the warmth of their vehicles, they descended the hill under the gaze of a sensational full moon rising in the eastern sky. It was a fitting conclusion to the first of Maldon’s Anzac services.

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