GOULBURN RSL Sub Branch president Gordon Wade says council is to blame for the likely failure to hold this year’s Anzac dawn service at its spiritual home, Rocky Hill.
Conversely, Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s director of engineering Terry Cooper says his team won’t stand in the way of the RSL Sub Branch.
The chain of events means the traditional dawn service won’t be held at Rocky Hill, described by Mr Wade as the best war memorial in Australia, and may not return there in time for the 2015 centenary commemorations of the landing at Gallipoli.
Mr Wade said bureaucracy and red tape had prevented the Sub Branch from returning the dawn service to its traditional home.
“We just want to let people park up around the hill and get the ceremony over in half-an-hour,” he said.
“Let’s go up there and do what we’ve done since the 1920s. We should be back up there. It’s the best place to have a dawn service in Australia. The hill reminds us of the conditions the Anzacs faced when they arrived at Gallipoli.”
The Sub Branch president blamed council-enforced restrictions for the committee’s decision to again hold the dawn service, along with the 11am march, in Belmore Park and its Auburn Street surrounds.
“The previsions they put on us are preventing it,” he said.
“They suggested we get cars to park at Carr Confoy and shuttle people up on a bus. Another suggestion was that we send out invitations.
You can’t send invitations out to an occasion like this. How are veterans going to respond when they find out they weren’t invited? People don’t respond well to that.”
Mr Cooper, meantime, reiterated that council had thrown its weight behind the push to return the service to Rocky Hill.
Council’s chasing money from the Regional Development Funding Grants program to restore the area to its former glory and improve pedestrian and vehicle access.
Council will next month find out if it’s qualified for the next stage as the Grant’s coordinators carry out a mass-culling of applications.
The revamp plan, aimed to be completed in time for the 2015 dawn service, will cost $400,000.
“The Anzac ceremony is something that’s up to the Sub Branch,” Mr Cooper said.
“We’re working with the Sub Branch to make sure we get the service back up there soon.”
The news contradicts commentary published in the Post last year. In an interview last February, Mr Wade said the dawn service would ‘almost certainly’ return to Rocky Hill in time for Anzac Day 2013.
He supported those comments during an interview with the Post in August.
Unfortunately, the Sub Branch president says, circumstances have since changed.
“There’s a few restrictions put on us and my expectation wasn’t met by council,” he said.
Although the dawn service will again take place at Belmore Park, its home since 2008, Mr Wade said the occasion would still prove moving and worthwhile.
“The important thing is not where the dawn service takes place, but that the dawn service takes place,” he said.