HONOUR, mateship and sacrifice were paid tribute to in communities across Wellington Shire on Wednesday.
In commemorative services on Anzac Day, communities paused to remember Australians who have died in war.
Braving wintry conditions, locals turned out en masse to celebrate local veterans who returned home from various conflicts, and to mourn those who never made it back to Australia.
In Maffra, RSL branch president Lindsay Morton reflected on the origins of Anzac Day during the memorial service, and what is has since come to mean to Australians.
“The Australians at Gallipoli created a tradition that has since grown into a national burning pride,” Mr Morton told the crowd of civilians, veterans and current Defence Force members in Maffra Memorial Hall.
“The way these Anzacs bore the brunt of the fight in the Dardanelles stirred Australians everywhere, and created new feelings of camaraderie and mateship — a feeling that matched the way the rest of the world began to look at Australia and New Zealand, not just as offshoots of Great Britain, but as young, independent nations.
“On the 25th of April 1915, a new side of the Australian character was revealed; the spirit of Anzac kindled and flared with a previously unknown and fearsome strength.”
During the service, Maffra Secondary School students were also honoured, with Josh Binger receiving the Spirit of Anzac award for his essay on what Anzac Day meant for him, and Alex Murphy receiving the Sargent Scholarship.
Likewise in Heyfield, locals paid tribute to the enduring legacy of the Anzac soldiers, with RAAF East Sale’s Lieutenant David Woodward urging citizens to honour the Anzacs in everyday life.
Record numbers attended Anzac Day ceremonies in Stratford and Sale.
Keynote speaker in Stratford, Flight Leiutenant Warren Streitberg, spoke of the sacrifices made of those serving past and present, while Wing Commander Patrick Cooper reflected on the mateship and spirit that was still evident at many Anzac Day ceremonies held across Australia during his keynote address in Sale.
Both ceremonies began with a march led by Sale City Band and including war veterans, students from local schools, scout groups and members of the general public.
Proceedings included wreath laying by several war veteran and community groups.
For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.