Aviation surprise for bayside community

Asurprise fly-over caught the attention of onlookers dispersing from the Anzac Day dawn service held at Port MacDonnell yesterday morning.

As the crowd made its way along Charles Street, a low flying bi-plane flew overhead.

At the conclusion of the service attendees were welcomed to a community breakfast at Volunteer Park.

The majority walked to the park and were stunned to witness the low flying plane travelling over the ocean toward them.

Stunned onlookers were able to sight the plane again as its pilot treated gazers to two more fly-overs, each time flying in from a different direction.

The Port MacDonnell Customs House and the War Memorial monument provided an ideal backdrop to the spectacle.

The morning was well attended with young and old, as well as pets, gathering together around the War Memorial and spilling onto Sea Parade and Charles Street.

The roads were closed to traffic to enable those that woke early to pay their respects to those that served at war.

Among those taking part in the formalities were Mount Gambier Army Cadets, Reverend Dr Murray Earl, 2022 Young Citizen of the Year Luke Bald, Allendale East Area School choir and wreath layers.

Local singer Linda Driver was given the honour of singing the national anthem.

As part of Luke’s address he reflected on the history of Anzac Day as well as his own family members who served.

“For my generation, we have thankfully not seen such significant first-hand sacrifice, hardship and devastation that world wars brought about in the early 1900s,” he said.

“We have thankfully been protected and well served by our grandparents, great grandparents, aunties and uncles that participated in so many other conflicts to enable us, the emerging generation to be provided with stability, safety and a nurturing environment.

“For that ongoing commitment, on Anzac Day we all take a deep breath, sometimes a sigh of relief.

“Without the past, the loss of our soldiers, the contributions of the whole country during that time, we would not be blessed with all of the luxuries we have today.”

Such commitments were carried out by Luke’s great grandfathers who served in World War II.

“Two of my grandfathers, Ken Bald and William McDonald, served in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea. Both whom thankfully returned home,” he said.

“My other great grandfather, Edwin Graetz, was enrolled within the army and safely made it home.”

Meanwhile, laying of the wreaths was carried out by a number of individuals and community groups as bagpipes played.

At the conclusion, attendees were encouraged to respectfully give a minute’s silence.

Though the morning temperature was bitterly cold and most observers were rugged up, the young catafalque party positioned around the monument stood strong in their uniform against the seaside chill.

At the end of the service, they were officially dismounted to join the breakfast served by the Kingsley Group Cadets.

Working group member Richard Ferguson said he was overwhelmed by the event which had faced uncertainty earlier in the year.

The call out for a new group to come together to ensure the event could celebrate its 30th year in Port MacDonnell was successfully answered.

The commitment came from a group of individuals and local community organisations.

What resulted was a large respectful gathering much the same as seen in previous years when organised by the local RSL.

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