A 92-year-old Townsville grandmother whose father fought at Gallipoli will be among the tens of thousands of Australians travelling to the nation’s capital for the Anzac Day centenary.
She will make the 2000km road trip with her family to join the 50,000 people expected at the Australian War Memorial’s dawn service, and the 30,000 more attending the national service later in the morning.
The record crowds – which could eclipse 2012 figures – will not just include people who missed out on the ballot to go to Gallipoli.
Those who have not made it to Canberra in previous years are making a special effort to do so to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli landings.
“From four months of age to 94 years of age, they will be here at 4.30 in the morning – and it’s something of which we ought to be immensely proud,” memorial director Brendan Nelson told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
He said the event would be one of the most significant in Australia’s history.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS AT THE MEMORIAL:
* Images of ex-servicemen projected to the front of the memorial.
* Images of Gallipoli landings projected onto the memorial.
* Readings at 5am from diaries and letters of servicemen from Gallipoli.
* Silence from 5.15am until 5.30am.
* Dawn service to begin at 5.30am.
* Indigenous navy serviceman to play the didgeridoo from the memorial parapet.
* General David Morrison to deliver the commemorative address.
NATIONAL SERVICE AT 10:15am.
* Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove to deliver a commemorative address.
* Laying of wreaths, reading of hymns, sounding of the Last Post, and observance of one minute’s silence.
* More than 88 contingents will be in the veterans march, including relatives and descendants of World War I servicemen.