Hearts and Footballs Soar on a Glorious ANZAC Day in Mosman Park

The Town of Mosman Park’s ANZAC Day commemorations this year were a powerful demonstration of patriotism and community harmony in an increasingly uncertain world.

For the first time in recent memory, reflecting alleged threats to ANZAC Day ceremonies both in Turkey (and elsewhere in Europe) as well as in Australia, the 2017 event featured a police presence, but rather than dampening the mood - in true Aussie style - representatives of the Cottesloe Police were seen playing footy with local children and enjoying the warm and supportive atmosphere of the day.

The connection with football was given further emphasis in the speech given by Mayor of the Town of Mosman Park, who despite promising not to cry this year, gave an emotional tribute to local Western Australians who served in the First World War, as he recounted the development of a “small event, of great importance”, namely an AFL game played on the battlefields of Europe in those dark days.  Mayor Norris recounted how the game was officially sanctioned by General Sir John Monash who recognised the incredible bravery of the Australian soldiers as well as their need for fun, sport, and mischief.  He recalled how a rough leather ball was fashioned by one of the soldiers who was a tanner by trade, and how the referees were chosen from footie referees who had enlisted in the Army. At the end of that historic game, although scores were kept, it was not recorded which team won, as this would not have been in keeping with the spirit of the event.  Tragically, following this clash of footy titans, the soldiers were despatched to the hell of the fields of France and Flanders.

Mayor Norris’ speech was one of the highlights of the day, which began with the traditional Gunfire Breakfast at the Alf Adams Pavilion, although this year without the smiling faces of Blue Stevens and Ray Dalziell who both passed away in recent years, as have other local veterans who were also much missed on the day.  Nevertheless, the Town’s oldest living veteran, Ken Walker, who turned 100 in January, was in fine fettle and enjoyed the occasion immensely.  

A tasty breakfast was prepared once again by the Rotary Club of Mosman Park-Cottesloe, and then just before 10am, a larger than usual crowd – drawn in part at least by the stunning autumnal weather on the day - gathered at Memorial Park for the ANZAC Day service that was co-hosted by the Town of Mosman Park and the Mosman Park Sub-Branch of the RSL, featuring Sub-Branch President, Kevin Poynton, who read The Ode.

Wreaths were laid by many community members including representatives of The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs and federal Member for Curtin; and for former Premier of Western Australia Colin Barnett MLA and Member for Cottesloe; as well as the Mosman Park Sub-Branch of the RSL, and by local school children and the Mosman Bay Sea Scouts who joined with veterans in the march-past.  Town of Mosman Park CEO Mark Goodlet attended with his family, as did many of the Town’s Councillors who were also in attendance, including Cr Brett Pollock, who was Master of Ceremonies for the event.

The service featured songs performed by the Mighty Camelot Choir and the service was signed into Auslan for the many hearing-impaired residents of Mosman Park, including several families whose children attend the local Mosman Park School for Deaf Children.

Following the service, hundreds of residents, friends and neighbours then stayed on to enjoy morning tea provided by the Town of Mosman Park, and to enjoy community fellowship, sharing family stories of war and sacrifice, and reflecting upon the meaning of ANZAC Day.  

No doubt many who were in attendance would have watched the traditional AFL clash between Essendon and Collingwood that was telecast later in the day and felt the connections between Mosman Park, our ANZACs, and a famous game of footy that took place one century ago.  Lest We Forget.

Photo coverage of the event can be seen on social media on Twitter (@mosmanparktown) and Instagram (@townofmosmanpark).

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