Rockingham and Kwinana residents honour war heroes

Jake Dietsch & Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Emma Vaughan-Williams lights a candle in her driveway.
Camera IconEmma Vaughan-Williams lights a candle in her driveway. Credit: Jake Dietsch/Jake Dietsch

Rockingham and Kwinana residents were determined to pay their respects, despite dawn services being cancelled as Perth entered lockdown over the weekend.

Streets throughout the community heard the sounds of bugles and were lit by candles and phone torches as dawn broke.

Eight-year-old Rockingham resident Edward McDonald lays a wreath.
Camera IconEight-year-old Rockingham resident Edward McDonald lays a wreath.

Others created public art on their streets to honour the Anzacs.

Rockingham RSL president Ian Brook said the street vigils were well attended, but there were still many who were disappointed they couldn’t march.

The Rockingham RSL as well as the Totally and Partially Disabled Veterans had already cancelled dawn services in the area, due to the burden of COVID restrictions.

A girl guide pays her respects in Baldivis.
Camera IconA girl guide pays her respects in Baldivis. Credit: Yvette Bowyer

Mr Brook said this had given people more time to prepare for street tributes.

“We’re encouraging, as is RSLWA, for driveway services to go ahead every year. There are some elderly people who can’t make it to dawn services, so they can get out to their driveways,” he said.

Dawn service in Parmelia.
Camera IconDawn service in Parmelia. Credit: Tasha Wheeler

“The cancellation took a lot of pressure off us because we were getting a lot of backlash. But in hindsight it’s clear we made the right decision.

“We cancelled due to the State Government’s restrictions announced in February and so we made the decision due to those restrictions to cancel before the Premier did.”

Premier Mark McGowan on his Rockingham driveway at dawn.
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan on his Rockingham driveway at dawn. Credit: Ian Munro/Premier's Office, Ian Munro

Mr Brook said paperwork had already been filed for Remembrance Day services in November.

“Hopefully we’ll have a big event for Remembrance Day and that will go ahead on the Village Green,” he said.

Jack Banks, 12, and Ryan Banks, 10, performed on their driveway.
Camera IconJack Banks, 12, and Ryan Banks, 10, performed on their driveway. Credit: Supplied

A Secret Harbour family, who are all members of the Rockingham City Pipe Band, were meant to be leading the ceremony in Fremantle into the mid-morning service, before it was cancelled.

Instead, they decided to take part in the driveway service with eldest son Jack Banks, 12, performing Amazing Grace and When the Battle’s Over on the bagpipes, just after 6am.

Father Stephen Banks said the dawn service was still special and the family had listened to the service online along with neighbours.

“At 11am, every piper in Australia and New Zealand performed Amazing Grace in honour of all Anzacs,” he said.

“Several neighbours heard Jack and Ryan, 10, playing both pipes and drums at 11am. Our next door neighbour who served almost 29 years in the Australian Army was especially thankful to the boys for performing.

“We’re hopeful next year it will go ahead in Rockingham and no doubt the boys will be up front and playing twice as loud and proud.”

Moving street art in Rockingham from Tiarnie.
Camera IconMoving street art in Rockingham from Tiarnie.

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