By Monica Grant
About 1000 people gathered in the pre-dawn silence at Buderim to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli.
The dawn service was attended by people of all ages and was the biggest yet, according to Buderim War Memorial Community Association member Geoffrey Hole.
“Attendance has been increasing,” he said.
“Last year we had over 800 at the Dawn Service.
“It’s becoming more of a national day than Australia Day.”
Mr Hole said a growing awareness was behind the increased support.
Held at the Buderim War Memorial, the service was attended by a number of ex-service personnel including World War II veteran Ted Field, whose grandson Captain Andrew Crowe gave the tribute.
In a moving speech, Capt Crowe, 29, acknowledged that Anzac Day services continued to “draw record crowds”, and attributed it to Australians’ natural disposition to “stick together in adversity and support each other”.
Capt Crowe, who has served for 11years and participated in three deployments to Afghanistan, comes from a military background with his great grandfather, grandfather, uncle and two brothers serving Australia throughout numerous conflicts.
“I wanted to do a job that would make a difference,” he said.
When asked about his grandson’s career choice, veteran soldier Mr Field was enthusiastic.
“I’m very proud,” Mr Field said.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson, who also attended the service, said it was great to see “so many people and younger ones” supporting Anzac Day.
“There’s more awareness of the outstanding service provided by our armed services,” he said.
With 2015 marking the Anzac Centenary, the mayor said he had considered entering the ballot to join the Australian Gallipoli contingency next year, but will instead be staying home to participate in local services.
“I believe the right place for me to be for the Centenary Anzac Day is on the coast.”
The BWMCA are already planning their centenary event which they will commemorate by planting an Aleppo Pine tree to honour fallen soldiers.
The Aleppo Pine originates from seeds collected in 1915 at Lone Pine Ridge Gallipoli, by a young Australian soldier.
The seeds later produced two trees, one of which was planted by the Duke of Gloucester at the Australian War Memorial in 1934.
Also known as the Lone Pine, the tree to be planted at Buderim is a direct descendant of the 80-year-old tree which still stands at the memorial in Canberra.
The pine will be planted in the new Buderim Village Park currently under development on the corner of King and Church Streets.
Anzac Day sub-committee Chairman Lt-Col David Woodrow (Retd) said the BWMCA had applied for a $24,000 grant from the state government to assist with preparations for the tree planting, and Buderim’s centenary Anzac Dawn Service.
“We’ve applied for the grant in cooperation with council to put in a concrete slab or rotunda for services, flag poles, and electricity connection so we can have a P.A and speaker system,” Mr Woodrow said.
“They’re also going to dig a very big hole and fill it with the correct soil, not our usual soil.
“We’re also building a low rock wall to protect the tree, and mount a plaque on.”
Although the new park will become the venue for the dawn services, Mr Woodrow said the main service would continue to be held at the Buderim Primary School.
The Buderim pine’s sister tree was planted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Australian War Memorial.