(AUSTRALIA) Anzac Day Report: This year marks the first time in two years that public commemorations to honour the sacrifices of the country’s military forces will be given the go-ahead #AceNewsDesk report

(AUSTRALIA) Anzac Day Report: This year marks the first time in two years that public commemorations to honour the sacrifices of the country’s military forces will be given the go-ahead #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Apr.25: Anzac Day services and marches are back — but the century-old tradition still won’t be the same as before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kindness & Love X❤️ says here is tribute on Anzac Day 2021 dawn services and commemorations near you: It comes after much of the community marked the nation’s day of mourning at home, in driveways and on balconies amid the height of the pandemic last year with a tribute to one special lady who was worth the equivalent of more than $40 million and had ties with the royal family, but rather than keep the horrors of war at a distance, she opened her doors and cared for 50,000 wounded Anzac soldiers on her estate during the conflict’

Three children wear veteran's medals, faces lit by candle light.
This year’s Anzac Day ceremonies will again look different due to coronavirus restrictions.(AAP: Joe Castro)

While people can honour the fallen and those who served in Australia’s military at official dawn services and marches, strict COVIDSafe protocols will apply.

Some of Australia’s most iconic ceremonies have been relocated, while others have restricted numbers, with some events for veterans and serving personnel only. 

If you’re staying at home, the RSL encourages people to light a candle and stand in their driveway, balcony or living room to Light up the Dawnand observe a minute’s silence.

Here’s how you can mark Anzac Day in your state:

  • ACT
  • New South Wales
  • NT
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia


The Australian Defence Force Band starts the Anzac Day parade at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra (Damien Larkins)
The Anzac Day parade at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra has been cancelled.(ABC News: Damien Larkins)

This Anzac Day, the traditional march will not be held in Canberra due to concerns about COVID-19.

For the second year in a row, the march of thousands will not go ahead.

A smaller march of 200 veterans will be permitted, up Anzac Parade, towards the Australian War Memorial.

Canberra’s commemorative services at the War Memorial will have a maximum capacity of 7,200 people.

Tickets to the dawn service sold out earlier this month.

“If you don’t have a ticket, please don’t come,” the Australian War Memorial’s assistant director of public programs Anne Bennie said.

“There are opportunities to watch it on TV and … we’ve got [the] Anzac at Home initiative up on our website as well.”

Find out more here.

New South Wales

Soldiers dressed un uniform, holding instruments, ready to start the Anzac Day march in Sydney.
Sydney’s Anzac Day commemorations are set to will look different to years gone by.(ABC News: Taryn Southcombe)

Sydney’s official Anzac Day Dawn Service starts at the Cenotaph in Martin Place from 4:30am.

This year, the event is ticketed to comply with COVIDSafe rules and all tickets have been allocated.

Main roads in Sydney’s CBD will be closed from 2:00am until after the Anzac Day March, which starts at 9:00am.

Marchers will assemble at the intersection of Martin Place and Elizabeth Street and the parade will go down Elizabeth Street, ending at the Liverpool Street end of Hyde Park.

Representatives of the Navy, Army and Air Force will march first, followed by civilians who support Australian troops, then descendants of Australian veterans, the Commonwealth and other allies.

An exemption has been given for the march that will cap numbers at 10,000 people.

Other Anzac Day marches and services can go ahead as COVIDSafe events, with up to 5,000 people subject to the 2-square-metre rule.

The NSW government has urged people to celebrate locally by attending community services.

Find out more here.

Northern Territory

Dr Sarah Lynah plays a trumpet on her Darwin balcony overlooking a tropical garden and distant water.
Darwin doctor Sarah Lynah practises for her Anzac Day dawn service balcony performance last year.(ABC Darwin: Jack Schmidt)

In the Top End, Darwin and Palmerston are already lit up in honour of Anzac Day to honour the work of service personnel.

A special ceremony will take place from 4:30pm on Saturday to mark 100 years of the Darwin Cenotaph War Memorial.

Governor-General of the Commonwealth David Hurley will be there and will also join the 6:00am dawn service on Sunday at the Cenotaph.

Returned soldiers will then march through the CBD, starting at the Esplanade end of Knuckey Street at 9:00am, with no caps on numbers.

In Palmerston, after a 4:30am gunfire breakfast at Cazaly’s Club, a dawn service will be held at Memorial Park, followed by a march starting at 9:00am at the Bunnings car park.

In rural areas, a dawn service will be held at the Cenotaph in Katherine at 6:00am followed by a 9:30am march on Katherine Terrace.

The dawn service at Alice Springs will be held at 6:00am at the Soldiers Memorial at the Garden Cemetery, instead of Anzac Hill, without a cap on attendance.

Find out more here.


Roy Hartman and his wife Dawn stand in their driveway with a flag and paper poppy flowers.
RAAF veteran Roy Hartman and his wife Dawn will be on their driveway in Cairns at 6:00am on Saturday.(ABC News: Sharnie Kim)

Commemorations are being held across Queensland, where you can choose to attend official events or reflect at home.

Brisbane’s dawn service begins at 4:28am at the city’s Shrine of Remembrance and is not ticketed, with unrestricted public access. 

People still need to comply with COVIDSafe requirements and carry a mask if social distancing becomes difficult.

The city’s Anzac Day Parade kicks off at 10:00am at the corner of George and Elizabeth streets, heading down its traditional route on Adelaide Street, before the march ends in Creek Street.

The picturesque dawn service at Elephant Rock at Currumbin on the Gold Coast, which attracts more than 15,000 people and is nationally televised, will again not go ahead this year.

Instead, its commemorations have been relocated to the Currumbin RSL cenotaph.

The Currumbin Beach Anzac Day dawn service
The Currumbin Beach Anzac Day dawn service in 2015, which attracts huge crowds and is televised.(Currumbin Palm Beach RSL)

The dawn and mid-morning service there won’t be for the public — only Currumbin RSL sub branch members, serving personnel and veterans can attend.

It’s a case of first in, first served due to capacity.

Townsville’s Anzac Day dawn service will be held at Riverway Stadium this year.

The ticketed event will have an 8,000-person capacity and allow for contact tracing.

Priority tickets will be made available to ex-service people and their families.

Find out more here.

South Australia

Anzac Day adelaide
A rainbow greeted the Light Horse Service at commemorations in Adelaide in 2010.(Brett Williamson: ABC Adelaide)

Numbers will be down at dawn services in South Australia because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Only 2,500 people will be allowed to attend the Adelaide dawn service at the National War Memorial on North Terrace.

Tickets are free but need to be booked online before attending.

Another 1,500 will be able to attend the Anzac Day Service of Remembrance at the Cross of Sacrifice at Pennington Gardens from 11:00am.

The Anzac Day March on North Terrace and King William Road, starting at 9:30am, will only be open to families of those marching and to veterans who choose not to march.

Some other dawn services have been cancelled – such as those planned for Unley and Glenelg and the Brighton dawn service, which will be held at Brighton Oval rather than the Arch of Remembrance on the foreshore to allow for more social distancing.

Two other large dawn services – those at Morphett Vale and Semaphore – will go ahead at the same location as usual, but attendees will need to book free tickets.

Find out more here.


Eternal flame burning in centre of a pond at the Hobart Cenotaph.
Eternal flame burning at Hobart Cenotaph on eve of Anzac Day 2020.(ABC News: Mitchell Woolnough)

Across Tasmania, there will be 140 Anzac Day events held across the state’s cities and towns. 

In Hobart, the dawn service starts at 6:00am at the Cenotaph but numbers will be capped at 3,000. People need to register on the RSL Tasmania website.

This year’s march in the state’s capital is smaller, only restricted to veterans and service defence force personnel.

It kicks off from Macquarie Street at 11:00am, finishing at the Cenotaph.

The main service starts at noon at the Cenotaph, again with a cap of 3,000 people who are required to pre-register. 

In Launceston, there will be a dawn service at 6:00am at the Cenotaph, followed by the march, which starts at 10:30am, going from Princes Square march to the Cenotaph where the main service begins at 1:00am.

No-one is required to pre-register but people will need to sign in on the day as per COVID protocols.

The RSL says COVIDSafe plans have been put in place for all events.

Find out more here.


War veteran
An Australian war veteran takes part in marking Anzac Day.(Flickr: Patricia Woods)

The dawn service will be held at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, with only 1,400 people allowed to attend.

All tickets have already been allocated so Victorians are being asked to watch the live stream from 5:40am.

The Anzac Day march will return and will also be live-streamed.

The Public Health Advisory Panel, Chief Health Officer and the Major Events Taskforce have granted approval for 5,500 marchers to participate — anyone wanting to march must register before they attend

The Anzac Day Melbourne Commemoration Ceremony occurs at the Shrine of Remembrance immediately after the march and includes the Official Wreath Laying Service.

Attendees will need to scan a QR code at the event location, follow RSL Victoria COVID Marshalls instructions, and adhere to all state health guidelines.

Western Australia

Bugler plays the Last Post
A bugler plays the Last Post.(ABC News: Gregor Salmon)

The Dawn Service returns to Perth this year at Kings Park and Botanic Garden but is limited to 10,000 people because of COVID-19 restrictions — you need to register before attending to secure a place for all events.

There will also be a Gunfire Breakfast at Government House for up to 2,000 people.

The traditional Anzac Day march down St George’s Terrace will also take place from 9:00am.

Driveway services at home are back in WA for people who cannot attend a traditional commemorative service, with ABC Radio Perth to broadcast a special Light Up The Dawn broadcast of The Ode, the Last Post, the Minute’s Silence and Rouse from 6:00am.

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Letitia Leake used $40m inheritance to help 50,000 wounded Anzacs during WWI

updated 5h ago

Harefield soldiers outside hospital
Harefield Park, No 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, UK.(Supplied: Harefield History Society )

When World War I began, a squatter’s daughter from South Australia was living in a stately British home.

She was worth the equivalent of more than $40 million and had ties with the royal family, but rather than keep the horrors of war at a distance, she opened her doors and cared for 50,000 wounded Anzac soldiers on her estate during the conflict.

The story of Letitia Billyard-Leake (born Letitia Leake) involves family tragedy, a vicious court case and philanthropic gestures beyond anyone’s expectations.

The Harefield village that became Letitia’s home remains one of three places in the United Kingdom that still commemorates Anzac Day.

It also became her final resting place when she was buried alongside the Anzacs who died under her care. 

Letitia and Edward
Letitia Leake (left) aged 12 and her father Edward Leake (right).(Supplied: Carol Grbich)

A ‘wild life’ growing up

Researchers Carol Grbich and John Berger were so captivated by Letitia’s story that they left semi-retirement to write a book about her fascinating life.

Initially tasked with writing a pamphlet about South Australia’s historic Glencoe Woolshed, they quickly began to focus on Letitia, who grew up on the sheep station during South Australia’s pioneering pastoralists era.

“I think she probably lived a fairly unmonitored life — because her mother was known to be a drunkard and her father hated what he was doing,” Ms Grbich said.

A man and woman lean against an old horse cart pointing to a large stone wall.
John Berger and Carol Grbich moved to Glencoe in 2009 to semi-retire and have been researching Letitia Leake’s story since 2016.(ABC South East SA: Bec Whetham)

Ms Grbich trawled through hundreds of official records, letters and diary entries to uncover the Leake family’s deep, rather elusive, history.

Letitia’s father, Edward Leake, arrived in SA with his brother and 1,000 Saxon merino sheep as the state was first opening up in the early 19th century.

He went on to settle in the south-eastern corner of the state, where he built Glencoe Station in 1844, and set about accumulating a fortune. 

Shearers in Glencoe 1898
Shearers outside the Glencoe Woolshed in 1898.(Supplied: Carol Grbich)

When her father died in 1867, Letitia, who was just seven years old, was sent to boarding school in Melbourne.

“Immediately her guardian, her uncle [Arthur Leake] came over to try and sort out the property,” Ms Grbich said.

“And he also seemed to have gotten rid of her mother and a younger son who Edward said was not his.

“They seemed to have been shuffled off the property very quickly.”

Glencoe estate
Edward Leake’s land stretched far beyond Glencoe in SA’s south-east.(ABC South East: Bec Whetham)

Inheriting the money

After boarding school, Letitia lived with her wealthy Uncle Arthur in Ross, in Tasmania.

He died in 1890 and left his property and a hefty fortune to the 30-year-old Letitia.

A year later, she married Charles Billyard, a solicitor from Sydney, and together they adopted the surname Billyard-Leake.

It was at this time that Letitia discovered her inheritance had been mishandled by her Uncle Arthur and her bank.

Arthur & Letitia
Letitia Leake lived and travelled with her uncle and guardian, Arthur Leake, after boarding school.(Supplied: Carol Grbich)

“He [Charles] started having a look at her uncle’s will which was then just going through probate,” Ms Grbich said.

“[He] realised there had been some mismanagement of Letitia’s fortune.

“It looked as though she was owed quite a bit of money.”

Charles started a court case and some of Letitia’s relatives fought back.Anzac Day 2021 on the ABCNo matter where you are on Anzac Day this year, mark April 25 with us — from your living room, at the end of your driveway, on your balcony, or at your farm gate.Read more

“They sent a lawyer all over the south east of SA interviewing people to try and prove that Edward’s marriage had been bigamous,” Ms Grbich said.

“[And prove] that he’d been involved in her mother’s husband’s disappearance — perhaps he was a murderer.

“[Or] that her mother was a loose woman and probably her father was not Edward after all.”

Without enough evidence, the case was eventually settled out of court in 1895 and Letitia received a further 140,000 English pounds.

Soon after, Letitia, Charles and their four children left Australia for good, with Letitia worth about 300,000 English pounds — the equivalent of almost $50 million today.

Harefield lake
Harefield Park had been a stately home for 200 years by the time the Billyard-Leakes bought it in 1897. They were the first Australians to live in Harefield.(Supplied: Harefield History Society )

Starting Harefield

Letitia and her family settled on a 100-hectare estate in the village of Harefield, on the north-western fringes of Greater London.

When World War I broke out, her two sons signed up to fight.

The family donated their property, Harefield Park, to the Australian Government for use as an Australian-run hospital — under the expectation it would house a few hundred soldiers.

Ms Grbich said that quickly proved unrealistic as the number of injured soldiers flooded the estate.

“When the wounded started coming from Gallipoli, at one moment there were 700 there and that went up to 1,000 very quickly,” she said.

ANZACS in Harefield Hospital Ward
Some soldiers stayed at Harefield Hospital for up to a year as they recuperated.(Supplied: Harefield History Society )

Australian War Memorial historian Meleah Hampton said the Harefield estate was the last stop for many wounded men.

“There were a lot of young men, many of whom [were] devastatingly wounded — missing limbs or seriously ill,” Dr Hampton said.

“There was a great deal of effort in helping these young men recuperate from their wounds.

“And also give them plenty to do so they were not sitting around thinking about what had happened.”

Dr Hampton said many of the soldiers found the care they were given on the estate a “pleasant surprise”.

“The soldiers who reached Harefield were really grateful to find Australian orderlies and Australian sisters taking care of them,” she said.

“It was a real relief to be surrounded by Australian accents that weren’t just their mates in the trenches.”

Kangaroos, cricket and a touch of home

The family moved off the property and lived nearby to help run the hospital.

Letitia and her daughter, also named Letitia, ran the canteen while Charles Billyard organised activities and was a hospital board member.

Harefield one-leg cricket
Everyone could join a game of cricket at Harefield, even if they had lost limbs.(Supplied: Harefield History Society )

“Charles was really very sporty and so he organised lots of stuff on the lake, swimming in summer, skating in winter,” Ms Grbich said.

“He loved cricket and he had a one-legged cricket team.

“He put a lot of money into developing prosthesis so people could actually get around.”

There was a reading room, billiards, weekly theatre performances, royal visits and other touches from home.

“I don’t know where they got them from, but they had a kangaroo and a wallaby and a cockatoo — so the men could feel something from home.”

Weddings, funerals, new families

Local Harefield historian Robert Goodchild said the hospital, while run predominantly by Australian staff, was of great benefit to the whole village.

“[The soldiers] did get out into the community,” he said.

“It was probably quite boring sitting in a hospital ward all the time.

“The chance of going down the local beer shop was probably the highlight of their day.”

concert harefield
Wounded soldiers enjoy a music performance at Harefield Hospital in 1915.(Supplied: Carol Grbich)

Dr Hampton said the Billyard-Leake family was very involved in the local community.

“They built a public reference library and rooms for the local community, they held garden fetes in their grounds,” she said.

The soldiers were popular with the local villagers, many of whom missed their own brothers or sons who were away serving in the war.

“They liked to take them out in motor cars and give them days out and trips, invite them to their homes,” Dr Hampton said.

“In the process of doing this, young men met young women and there were a lot of marriages.”

An old sepia wedding photo featuring a bride and groom in uniform surrounded by women in dresses and men in suits.
Parish records in Harefield show close to 40 marriages between Anzac soldiers and local women.(Supplied: Harefield History Society )

Those who did not make it home to Australia had heartfelt farewells in the town.

“In Harefield, when someone died they were taken from hospital in a procession for a full military-honours funeral at the local church,” Dr Hampton said.

There is a village burial plot dedicated to servicemen, particularly Anzacs, which holds about 120 graves today.

“The locals at Harefield still care for that site a great deal and it’s a beautiful place,” Dr Hampton said.

Men, women and children in winter clothing line a wide street, walking in the same direction.
A funeral procession for a deceased Anzac soldier in Harefield, 1918.(Supplied: Harefield History Society)

Family ‘didn’t seek recognition’

Dr Hampton found that despite being a particularly affluent family, the Billyard-Leakes remained quiet socially.

“They didn’t have prominent positions in parliament or in [the] governance of Australia,” Dr Hampton said.

“They just got on with their business.

“They didn’t ask for recognition … they were just doing what they did because they felt it needed doing at the time.”

Edward Billyard-Leake
Charles and Letitia Billyard-Leake’s eldest son Edward with the Prince of Wales and Lord Mountbatten, buddies from the Dartmouth Naval Academy.(Supplied: Carol Grbich)

Anzacs never forgotten 

The Harefield community first commemorated Anzac Day in 1922, a tradition that continues today.

“It’s remembered by everybody in the village because the junior school, the lower school, the scout groups attend every year,” Mr Goodchild said.

“They put flowers on all the graves.

“All 119 Australians who are buried there are remembered every day.”

Kids with flag ANZAC
Children hoist an Australian flag at an early Anzac Day ceremony in Harefield.(Supplied: Carol Grbich)

Even on Anzac Day last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, locals came out to pay their respects.

“It was a weekend so we were able to walk down to the cemetery and lay some flowers,” Mr Goodchild said.

“We were astonished at how many people had got there before us. 

“Every single grave had bunches of flowers.”

Harefield schoolchildren
The local school in Harefield teaches its students about Harefield Hospital and how it helped the Anzac soldiers.(Supplied)

Still a working hospital

After the war, the Billyard-Leakes sold Harefield Hospital to the British Government for it to be used as a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients.

It is now a National Health Service hospital renowned for its cardiology department and performing the world’s first heart-and-lung transplant.

“You wouldn’t realise now, when you think 100 years ago it was a stately home with a load of wooden huts around it,” Mr Goodchild said.

“Now it’s a state-of-the-art hospital.”

As for Letitia Billyard-Leake, she died not long after the war in 1923, aged 63. She is buried with her family and the Anzac soldiers in Harefield. Both of her sons made it home from the war.

A collection of small buildings surrounded by large Norfolk pine trees.
Soldier cabins at Harefield.(Supplied: Harefield History Society)

Watch this story on ABC TV’s Landine at 12:30pm on Sunday, or on ABC iview.

#AceNewsDesk report ……….Published: Apr.25: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

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