Samford ANZAC Day and Avenue of HonourA fantastic morning dawned and hordes turned up for the official opening of the Avenue of Honour and the Samford Anzac Day service.

Crowd estimates were put at between 8,000 to 10,000 people.

Starting at 6.00 am people arrived from far and wide to gather at the soccer grounds for the march up to the cenotaph. Many people walked straight to the top of the hill to the cenotaph and clapped the marchers along on their walk.

There was such a crowd, anyone standing on the outer edges, had no way of seeing any action. Some brave souls resorted to climbing trees to get a good view. All present were respectful and wonderfully behaved, once more showing the community spirit is alive and well in Samford and Surrounds.

The photographer hanging overhead in a cherry picker had the pick of the view. Having his very own bird’s eye view for the whole morning.

Master of Ceremonies, Mark Orreal, Samford RSL Sub-Branch and Avenue of Honour Committee member, gave the Welcoming speech and Introduction and carried on to do a wonderful job throughout the day.

Keynote Speaker was Peter Dutton Mp, with guest speakers Cr Bob Millar and Mark Furner MP.

If there was a common theme throughout the day, it was remembering not just those who fell. The impact of those who were damaged and/or wounded on themselves and their families was also acknowledged.

How wonderful to also have Afghanistan servicemen present, complete with service dogs.

These dogs are trained as assistants for those veterans injured, disturbed by their experiences, or with other special needs.

Reverend Peter Armstrong from Samford Valley Community Church presided through the ceremonies.

Jamie Whitehead, President of Samford RSL Sub-Branch and also Avenue of Honour committee member, presented the Opening Address.

Local poet Russell Plunkett narrated the poems “It’s In Our Blood” and “We Will Remember Them”.

The Catafalque Party Mounts 6RAR presided over the Memorial Service.

Lt Col Bill Studley (RTd) also of Samford RSL Sub-Branch, gave the Anzac Day Address.

Reading the Roll Call of the Fallen, was Tony Smith, Vice President of the Samford RSL Sub-Branch.

Following the closing of the ceremony, again the community spirit prevailed. Traffic congestion periodically brought the main street to a halt for up to half an hour as homeward bound traffic slowly dispersed through. Drivers showed great patience and traffic courtesy.

What a legacy Samford now has to offer in the Avenue of Honour for both current and future generations. The Avenue of Honour has only been made possible through tremendous community support. In a few years time, what a magnificent experience it will be to stroll along the path, embraced on both sides by beautiful and shady native Queensland trees.

Congratulations to all involved.




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