Anzac Day 2016 in Wangi Wangi

April 25, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Posted in Australia, History, Reflections, Society, Special Occasions, War and Conflict | 14 Comments
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ANZAC means Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

As we do every year, today we celebrate Anzac Day here in Australia and in New Zealand.

The landing by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula on 25 April 1915 was Australia’s first major action of the Great War. These soldiers quickly became known as Anzacs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.

When they landed they faced fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated from the peninsula, with both sides having suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. More than 8,000 Australian soldiers died in the campaign.

Gallipoli had a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who died in the war.

I have written before on Anzac Day – herehere and here.  And Here is more background.

Here in Wangi Wangi, NSW, there was a dawn service. At 10 o’clock we had a parade down Wangi’s main street, consisting of past and current servicemen and women, school children, and members of various public services and voluntary organisations. The R.A.A.F. provided the armed service contingent this year.

The large and growing contingent of vintage army vehicles is a always popular drawcard for everyone. It ended at the memorial in front of the RSL (Returned Services League) Club, where a half hour ceremony was conducted.

We also had a flypast by three BAe Hawk fighter jets from the RAAF base at Williamtown, Newcastle.

I took photos of the parade and the later display of vehicles, but I could only get one partial shot of the people conducting the ceremony as I wasn’t tall enough to see over those in front of me. Here are some of the highlights of the morning.

01 Hardware sign

02 RAAF lead parade

03 salute

04 K9 unit

05 Wangi school

06 Full tracks

07 Jeeps

08 Ambulances

09 Old blitz trucks

10 Half-track truck

11 Crowd heads to the ceremony area

12 Ceremony blocked by crowd

13 Part of vehicle display

14 Looking to lake

15 Looking from jetty

16 Flags

 

Lest we forget

 

I have heard people who are quite opposed in their views about occasions such as ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day and others. Do you think they really commemorate those who served and suffered for a righteous cause? Or are these occasions really glorifications of nationalistic pride?  I would be interested if you could share your views.

 

(c) Linda Visman,  25th April 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunset at Dobell Park, Wangi Wangi, NSW

January 4, 2015 at 5:35 pm | Posted in Australia, Family, Gratitude, heritage, Leisure activities, Nature | 6 Comments
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After dinner on the second day of the new year, my husband and I, with our son and family who were visiting from Queensland, went for a walk on the shore of Lake Macquarie. Being summer, it was still light when we arrived at Wangi Wangi village, almost two kilometres away.

images[2]The local park is a popular one, overlooking the lake on the southern side of the isthmus. It is named in honour of our late local celebrity, Sir William Dobell, a well-known and sometimes controversial artist. We had walked past Sir William’s house, now an art gallery, on the way there.

We all sat on the grassy slope to watch the sun make the last of its descent past the horizon. I took some photos, as it was a lovely scene.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????This old and battered fibreglass dinghy sat forlornly on the beach.

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Then we walked the almost two kilometres back home. It was a lovely end to a busy and very pleasant, family-oriented day.

Photos (c) Linda Visman

Old Wangi Wangi Power Station

November 2, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Australia | 13 Comments
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Wangi Power Station 01

As we come into our little town from either direction, I always look across at the old power station. When we go for a walk up and over the top of our hill, the big old building is laid out before us, and I always want to stop and look at it.

Wangi Power Station 03

There is always something about it that draws out a strange feeling of familiarity and belonging – like seeing an old friend I have been missing for a long time but not knowing where I last saw them. I want to just gaze at it, bring it closer, work out what it is that draws me so strongly.

Most people see the building as ugly. It is long, high and basically rectangular, constructed with red brick and with rows of windows along its extensive sides – most of them now broken by vandals. Its three huge chimneys have been location finders and home-coming beacons for boats on Lake Macquarie since the power station was constructed in the 1950s.

The power station took ten years and 1,000 men to build, the last to be built by the NSW Government Railways before the main responsibility for NSW power supply was transferred to the Electricity Commission. It was also the last Railways power station to close. The plant poured its power into the electricity grid from 1956 to 1986.

Wangi Power Station & the adjacent colliery (Image 5163 -Lake Macquarie City Library)

Wangi Power Station & the adjacent colliery (Image 5163 -Lake Macquarie City Library)

A coal-fired operation, the Wangi Wangi Power Station drew its fuel from one adjacent colliery and others nearby. It was actually one of the first power stations to be sited adjacent to its supplying colliery and, for its first five years of operation, was also the largest power station in NSW. These factors are among the major reasons for the building’s heritage listing.

Wangi Power Station 02

Since the insides of the building were gutted of its furnaces, transformers and associated equipment in the 1990s, it has been left almost derelict – though its lawns, trees & shrubs are still kept in order. There has been talk for the last twenty years of the building undergoing retail and/or housing development, but so far nothing has come of whatever plans have been submitted to Council.

Regarding my strange attraction to the old red brick building, I recently had a realisation of where it has come from. I was born in a Lancashire cotton mill town and spent the first five years of my life there before we migrated to Australia. There were lots of spinning, weaving and dyeing mills still standing at that time, though most have since been demolished.

Stone Bridge Mill, one of Oswaldtwistle's cotton mills

Stone Bridge Mill, one of Oswaldtwistle’s cotton mills

The long brick wall of one of these, Rose Mill, ran along the alley behind our home in Oswaldtwsitle. Our home itself was in one of many stone-built two-storey terraces that were constructed to house the mill workers. Our terrace was built in the 1890s. When I was researching my family history, I discovered that my paternal great-grandfather had actually lived and, in 1917 during WWI died, in the three-up-three-down terrace home Dad had bought during WWII and where I and my then three siblings were born.

Roe Greave Rd, Oswaldtwistle 2014 - Google Earth

Roe Greave Rd, Oswaldtwistle 2014 – Google Earth

 

Where I grew up in Australia, and in most of the other places I have lived in since I was twenty, there were no large brick buildings. On the odd occasion that I go to Sydney, I love to see them there. But it is the power station that stirs my emotions the most.

I have a feeling that it is subconscious memories and feelings from my early childhood being drawn out by the sight of this building. And those buried memories must be happy ones, because I feel happy as well as nostalgic whenever I gaze on it.

The three stacks of the old power station, seen from the lake.

The three stacks of the old power station, seen from the lake.

(c) Linda Visman

ANZAC Day 2013

April 25, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Australia, History, Society, War and Conflict | 13 Comments
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ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The term Anzac originated in World War I, when our countries’ combined forces landed on the beaches of Gallipoli, Turkey,  on the 25th April 1915.

The Anzacs land on the Gallipoli beaches, under fire from the Turks who hold the high ground.

The Anzacs land on the Gallipoli beaches, under fire from the Turks who hold the high ground.

This campaign, in which many hundreds of men lost their lives, was the first real test of the armies of these two new nations; their “Baptism of Fire”.

anzac-day-2013

Nowadays, ANZAC day is celebrated by the people of Australia and New Zealand on the 25th April, the day the first forces landed on the beaches of what is now called Anzac Cove. From the beginning, they faced extremely strong opposition from the Turks, who had the high ground. They dug in and both sides endured many months of warfare under terrible conditions.

Gallipoli trenches

Anzac Day has come to rival Remembrance Day (11th November) as a reminder of the sacrifice that so many made in the service of their country. All wars in which Anzacs served since that initial campaign are remembered, right up to the present Afghanistan campaign that is still going on. Every city and almost every town with a population of more than a few hundred has its parade and its ceremony of remembrance.

Here are some pictures of Anzac Day in my little town, Wangi Wangi, on the shores of Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.

The parade is led by a lone piper and a single drummer.

The parade is led by a lone piper and a single drummer.

Ex-servicemen march along the main street of Wangi behind the piper & drummer

Ex-servicemen march along the main street of Wangi behind the piper & drummer

Children from local primary schools also participated.

Children from local primary schools also participated.

A small selection of the many old army vehicles that participated in the march.

A small selection of the many old army vehicles that participated in the march.

A section of the crowd heads towards the memorial for the remembrance service.

A section of the crowd heads towards the memorial for the remembrance service.

Some of the officials and veterans.

Some of the officials and veterans.

On Anzac Day, and only on that day, a traditional Aussie gambling game called two-up is allowed by law. It is played by tossing two old pennies off a small strip of wood, and bets are called as to how the pennies will land: two heads; two tails; or one of each. Large amounts of money can be wagered on this game, so it’s probably a good thing it is banned for the rest of the year! The crowd also becomes very noisy as the game progresses.

The crowd at the two-up game.

The crowd at the two-up game, held in the garden of the Wangi RSL (Returned Services League) club.

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(c) Linda Visman (text & photos)

Dobell Park at Wangi, 9th March 2012

March 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Posted in Australia, Nature, Writing and Life | 2 Comments
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  The lake before me is a deep, rich blue that pales and changes to a soft gold where the water shoals over sand and pebbles near the shore. The sky’s lighter blue is daubed with fluffy white clouds that sail slowly up from the south. I see a couple of white sails in the distance – it is a perfect day to be out sailing.

The water lapping at shore has a different resonance today as it washes onto the pebbled beach. Instead of the usual shhh, there is a deeper sound; more like an eddy gurgling and echoing into a large drain, or a giant coffee percolator bubbling away.

A dainty black and white peewee saunters past my foot, and seagulls wait expectantly for morsels that I do not have. An Indian mynah hops about, picking up tidbits from the grass, whilst trying to keep balanced on its single leg.

From a nearby old eucalypt comes the tinkling call of an Eastern Rosella, almost drowned by the fractious squabbling of Noisy Miners.

I hear a rooster crow in the distance; something unusual in town these days. It brings back memories of the many years we kept fowls and relished the freshness of their eggs.

My piece of pumice

I go for a walk along the shore, looking for pieces of petrified wood. There was plenty of it around at one time I’ve been told, but collectors seem to have scavenged it all now. I do find a small piece of pumice though, extremely light and full of bubble holes; the lava must have cooled very quickly when it hit the water aeons ago.

I am constantly amazed and extremely grateful that I live in such a beautiful place. I hope that I will never take it all for granted.

 

Do you live in a place that you see as beautiful? Or is there some other place you would love to live? Do you think we too often take for granted the good things we have in our lives?

Pebbles on the lake shore

© Linda Visman, 9th March 2012

Photos: Linda Visman

 

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