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Anzac Day blow as iconic beachfront service cancelled for second year

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The iconic Anzac Day Dawn Service at Elephant Rock on Currumbin beach, that regularly attracts more than 20,000 people and is nationally televised, will be cancelled again this year.

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Currumbin RSL has confirmed the service, that is one of the largest in the country and features performers including singer John Williamson and has even included a peace concert by Brisbane rockers Powderfinger in the past, was cancelled because the pandemic-related all-clear by the State Government came too late. It will be replaced by a livestream of a restricted service for veterans and RSL club members at the club’s cenotaph.

The Currumbin RSL cancellation comes as Tweed Heads and Coolangatta RSL also cancelled its ANZAC Day service for around 8,000 people, claiming the ongoing risk of snap border closures meant it could not plan for the event.

Despite Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declaring 2021 Anzac Day commemorations including marches and dawn services would be able to take place as normal in Queensland, the Gold Coast services confirmed they would again be victims of the impacts of coronavirus.

Currumbin RSL community relationship manager Kerry Shepherd said the green light for the popular beachfront Dawn Service that required large-scale seating and outdoor broadcast infrastructure did not give organisers enough time to host the event.

“To pull off an organised event on such a scale takes months and months…and the announcement didn’t allow for that,” Shepherd said.

Instead Currumbin RSL would hold a Dawn Service at the Currumbin RSL cenotaph that would be livestreamed, she told ABC Gold Coast.

Currumbin RSL Sub Branch members and veterans would be given priority to attend in restricted numbers, while members of the community were urged to again “light up the dawn” as thousands across the country did from their driveways last year when all ANZAC Day services were cancelled.

“Veteran and community safety is our priority,” Currumbin RSL posted on its ANZAC Day Service Facebook page.

“Rest assured we are still holding a Dawn Service and mid-morning service at the Currumbin RSL cenotaph and many other exciting events to commemorate ANZAC Day.

“This year they will look a little different and be spread across a whole week.”

Events will include red, purple and white poppy installations and the lighting of bridges and buildings around the southern Gold Coast.

The emotional Burial at Sea that is traditionally held as part of the Dawn Service will be held as normal at Elephant Rock with the help of the Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Club.

Elsewhere across the state, there will be no restriction on numbers at outdoor Anzac events, including a march to be held through Brisbane.

Palaszczuk has urged Queenslanders to turn out in big numbers to Anzac Day events as a sign of respect after all events were cancelled last year.

Under the latest advice regarding Anzac Day services, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young confirmed there would also be no requirement for people to wear face masks.

 

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