First published in The Young Witness

Greg Roberts

Darwin’s Anzac Day dawn service is a special one that remembers its status as the only Australian city to be bombed and it will be sorely missed this year.

The service is usually held at the cenotaph on cliffs overlooking Darwin Harbour and the Timor Sea, from where Japanese aircraft in 1942 carried out the largest ever foreign attack on Australia’s mainland, resulting in about 240 deaths.

The Darwin RSL decided last month to cancel all Anzac Day commemorations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is very difficult for us because it is on parkland where our cenotaph is and anyone can wander around there any time,” Darwin RSL president Stephen Gloster told AAP.

Anzac Day services have been cancelled before in the Top End, most recently in 2006 due to Cyclone Monica.

Local charter airline Hardy Aviation will fly a restored 80-year-old DC-3 plane over Darwin on Saturday to pay tribute to Diggers.

The plane was meant to be part of Anzac Day and will take an hour- long flight from 8am Saturday.

Mr Gloster said people should still reflect on Australian Defence Force men and women in Darwin, standing on their driveways at dawn or watching and listening to broadcasts and streaming of services from the War Memorial in Canberra.

“I think as long as everyone takes a minute’s silence to reflect on serving members and ex serving members who have given their lives over the years,” Mr Gloster said.

Some defence members and their families have also had poppies painted on their driveways.

Australian Associated Press



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