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‘Special feeling’: A unique dawn service in a suburban street that will never be forgotten

Babies watched from their mother’s arms and elderly couples held hands as one of the street’s veterans conducted the ceremony from the middle of the short road, which sits in the shadow of Simpson Barracks, home to the defence force’s signals and music schools.

Residents of Clara Street in Macleod set up a makeshift stage for a dawn service.

Residents of Clara Street in Macleod set up a makeshift stage for a dawn service.Credit:Eddie Jim

Bill Telfer, a 74-year old Vietnam veteran, spoke from a makeshift lectern, his booming voice travelling half a dozen houses away to where a memorial fire was burning.

A laptop played The Last Post after The Ode was read. Then came the national anthem, after a minute’s silence.

The ceremony concluded informally: “I now invite you to an egg and bacon breakfast at the end of the street at Mark Di Pasquale’s barbecue,” the MC said.

Mark Di Pasquale's daughters wrote 'lest we forget' in chalk on the street.

Mark Di Pasquale’s daughters wrote ‘lest we forget’ in chalk on the street.Credit:Eddie Jim

Mr Telfer – who served in the Corps of Signals and usually organises the local RSL’s service – said holding the event in his street added a special element.

“To have everyone out on the street this morning was absolutely incredible. It’s just mind-blowing seeing people in their driveways and having the lights down the street,” he said.

“It really helped me to know that people are wanting an ANZAC Day service … “

Many would not usually travel to either their local RSL service or the Shrine. The ease of attending and being able to join with neighbours meant almost every household participated.

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On one side, an elderly couple from Britain with family military history attended a dawn service for the first time. Across the road a young couple, also with family military ties, held their four-month-old baby.

“We’ll definitely tell him about it,” said mother Jess Pruckner of her, son Archer. “I’m sure he’s going to hear a lot about this time we’re in.”

Jessica’s husband Ben Pruckner had an Austrian grandfather who was forced to join the German army in the Second World War and was captured and sent to Australia as a prisoner of war. He escaped with the help of an Australian guard and met Mr Pruckner’s grandmother.

Ms Pruckner, who has attended dawn services previously, said this one had a “special feeling”.

“It’s kind of different because it’s not going out and doing it with people you don’t know. You’re doing it with your neighbours … It makes it feel nice.”

After the ceremony, the neighbours gathered – at a safe distance – for a gunfire breakfast cooked by the family of Mr Di Pasquale, a former mayor of the local council.

As the sun rose, Mr Telfer drank his yearly beer with his neighbour, and children chatted. They were all just pleased to see one another.

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