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Different kind of ‘Dawn’ Service in Eurobodalla

April 25, 2023 8:07 am in by

A Surf Beach resident has honoured those in the Eurobodalla who served in World War I, with a special dawn service, just south of Batemans Bay this ANZAC Day.

Dawn Simpson and her team of 20 volunteers lined Wimbie Beach with 700 candles in jam jars just before sunrise this morning with hundreds of locals gathering on the beach to pay their respects.

“Last year was the first time we did it, and we only had 300 jars on the beach but people dropped off lots of jars this year, so we had over 700,” Simpson told East Coast Radio.

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“We lit the candles before the sun came up and played The Last Post from a little hill overlooking the beach and it’s just a lovely tribute to all of those people from the Eurobodalla Shire who served,” she said with a shaky voice.

The similarities between Anzac Cove in Gallipoli and Simpson’s local Eurobodalla beaches served as the inspiration behind the special ANZAC Day commemoration.

“Three years ago I was lucky enough to go to Gallipoli, taken in memory of my grandfather’s service, and as you can imagine it was a very emotional place to visit,” Simpson said.

“I came home and I usually walk the three beaches at the end of my street; Wimbie Beach, Surf Beach and Denhams Beach, and I kept reflecting on my visit to Gallipoli and that’s when I came up with the idea.”

Over 500 people from the Eurobodalla Shire left to serve in World War I with 28 men reportedly leaving the small village of Bodalla.

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“The Eurobodalla was not densely populated back then, imagine 28 men leaving Bodalla, that little village would have been decimated, and there would have been no men left in that village and some never came back,” Simpson said.

“My grandfather left from Dignams Creek and was shot in France, patched up and sent back,” she said.

“It was such a sacrifice for all those people who left, and this was my way to say thank you to them and it’s a bit different to a march.”

Dawn is hoping to expand the commemoration next year to include Surf Beach and even more candles.

Images: Georgie Rowley

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