WWII veteran Ray Gray (left), Noel Johnston and Vietnam veteran Gary Lovell, all of Clunes, supporting Remembrance Day at the Clunes Cenotaph.
WWII veteran Ray Gray (left), Noel Johnston and Vietnam veteran Gary Lovell, all of Clunes, supporting Remembrance Day at the Clunes Cenotaph.

Honouring our war heroes

UP UNTIL two years ago, Clunes residents had to leave their village to take part in Remembrance and Anzac Day services.

Then Vietnam veteran Gary Lovell decided to do something about it.

He organised an Anzac Day ceremony at the flag pole opposite the general store, which proved so popular he decided Clunes needed its own Cenotaph.

“I kept getting quizzed – why haven’t we got one? So I made inquiries to the Veteran’s Department, but then decided we could do it ourselves,” he said.

A committee was formed and within six weeks the money was raised. “The whole community pitched in,” Mr Lovell said.

Yesterday, the Cenotaph was the centrepiece for Clunes’ second Remembrance Day service, attended by about 160 local residents and school children.

“The crowds keep building each year,” Mr Lovell said.

“And it’s really good for a lot of the older people because now it’s at their doorstep.”

Mr Lovell said the Cenotaph had become a point of interest in the town and he was amazed at the number of people who stopped there to leave flowers or for some quiet reflection.

Meanwhile, hundreds turned out for Remembrance Day services across the region, pausing at 11am to remember those who have served in war.

In Casino, the CBD came to a standstill while about 150 people gathered around the Mafeking Lamp to witness the laying of wreaths.

At Ballina, about 200 gathered at the Cenotaph in Grant Street, where they heard Ballina High School vice-captain Tiare Brodhead give the main address.

At Byron Bay, a crowd of about 30 heard RSL Sub-branch president Ted Fenton speak of the 60,000 who lost their lives in World War I and the sacrifices Australians have made in all wars.

In Lismore, close to 200 people gathered at the Cenotaph outside the Memorial Baths.

Lismore City RSL Sub-branch president Bob Mowle said it was heartening to see so many school students there.

“We need young people to own the day and to get them to recognise the debt they owe the blokes that didn’t come back,” he said.



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