For the past 32 years I have attended the annual Anzac Dawn Service at Bomana War Cemetery in Papua New Guinea.

The cemetery, which is the final resting place for more Australian war dead than any other place in the world, reflects the principles of equality, uniformity and commemoration in perpetuity.

The annual service, conducted by the Port Moresby RSL, is solemn, dignified, and meaningful in its sadness.

This year I attended the Anzac Dawn Service and march organised by my local RSL Sub-Branch in Camden. I was immensely proud of its conduct and the large turnout it attracted from all communities, schools, and the general public with the support of Camden Council.

Having captured the microphone ‘Aunty Glenda’, who apparently works for Centrelink (and was apparently paid $300) for the occasion, then went into a black-armband rant reminding us that their fathers were ‘invaders’ who had ‘massacred aborigines’, and that we now living on stolen land which ‘always was and always will be’ aboriginal land‘.

Aunty Glenda‘ from Centrelink was obviously unaware of those who sacrificed their lives to save her people from the fate suffered by the Chinese population when they were invaded by the Japanese in 1937. Some 200,000 of the local indigenous population were murdered and at least 20,000 women raped in the battle for Nanjing in 1937.

She is also not aware that thousands of brave Australians who died defending our country against the brutal Japanese war machine on our doorstep in Papua and New Guinea from 1942-45. Many of their relatives were sitting in the audience she was berating.

I did not wait to hear the full extent of her disgraceful rant. I removed my medals from my jacket and adjourned to the Crown Hotel for a quiet beer to settle down.

  • Uniformity – all commonwealth war cemeteries are uniform in design with a Cross of Sacrifice, marble headstones, a Stone of Sacrifice and a Memorial to the Missing. This principle also applies to the conduct of a Dawn Service with prayers for the fallen, hymns, guest speakers, laying of wreaths, Last Post, a Minutes Silence, and Reveille;
  • Equality – we are all equal in death so there is no precedence in rank among the marble headstones. There should therefore be no precedence in acknowledging one race above all others; and
  • Commemoration in Perpetuity – If aboriginal activists are permitted to infiltrate Anzac services by establishing ‘Welcome to Country’ as a bridgehead to become a norm, our sacred day will surely suffer the fate of Australia Day in years to come.

Her intervention was an insult to her RSL hosts and a very proud Camden community.

For those who wish to see the pride in our local Camden commitment to Anzac Day check out these photographs by Brett Atkins on his Capture Camden FB Page.

50th Anniversary Anzac Dawn Service, Bomana War Cemetery 1992

Anzac Day March – Camden 2024