A couple of years ago I had an amazing ANZAC experience.
Great Southern Rail invited me on a journey to document the 'Ghan Anzac Train' for the Centenary celebrations.
Most of the passengers travelled from Adelaide; some came from Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart etc however I joined the ANZAC Train in Darwin where we headed South via Katherine Gorge, Alice Springs and finally on to Adelaide.
The 'Ghan ANZAC Train' had on board entertainment, namely 70s rock legend Russell Morris who performed on the train and when we stopped at Katherine after we took a beautifulgorge cruise and dinner. Russell engaged and reinvigorated the ANZAC Train passengers with a fantastic concert. We all coached back to the Ghan to get some shut eye ahead of a long day.
Waking early the next morning in Alice Springs I arose a couple of hours before daybreak. Getting my kit together, rugged up and sipped on a coffee as Imeandered up ANZAC Hill in the darkness to get a good position for the dawn service. On my arrival there were already about 50 people in position and about an hour or so until sunrise. Within the next half hour hundreds of people streamed up the hill; mums and dads carrying babies, shuttle buses ferried the elderly, people on walking frames and sticks, young couples and members of the various services were well represented. Everyone jostling for a good vantage point as the numbers swelled to almost 2000 people.
In my previous life as a press photographer I covered many a dawn service, documenting Adelaide services, suburban through to small country towns and generally during inclement weather. However the emotion and atmosphere which I experienced on Anzac Hill that morning touched me deeply. The coming together of such a huge crowd of people sharing a special time, reflecting on the many men and women who gave their lives for the peaceful world that we live in today.
The ‘Last Post’ pierced the still breach of day. I had goose bumps covering me from head to toe. It was an incredibly special ANZAC day to document.