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Anzac on Torrens 2019

Thursday 9 May, 2019

Anzac on Torrens has been an integral part of Anzac Day commemorative events in Adelaide for more than 40 years. The most important aspect of the event is its focus – Veterans and their families. It presents an opportunity to thank those who have served and continue to serve in the defence of our nation.

This year’s event was coordinated by Veterans SA and, given the limited planning time available, was an outstanding success with an estimated 3,500 – 4,000 people enjoying breakfast after the Dawn Service and the opportunity to reunite in a relaxed atmosphere following the Anzac Day March.

The success of this year’s Anzac on Torrens was due to three key elements:
• Ensuring that Veterans and their families, not profit, were the focus of our efforts
• An outstanding group of volunteers who performed above and beyond our expectations
• The small business community of Adelaide that rallied to offer goods and services either free of charge or at significantly reduced cost

In addition, the energy of the Veterans SA staff and the Finance team in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, who worked tirelessly in the weeks leading up to the event planning, organising and coordinating all the elements a successful event of this type requires, from volunteers to bread rolls to sequencing the delivery of infrastructure and goods to clean up, was a significant contributor to the event’s success.

In considering how best to host the event we placed ourselves in the position of the guest, analysing how that individual would buy a beer or soft drink, purchase a breakfast sandwich, or grab a cup of coffee. To a large extent I believe we got that right but there are, as there always will be, things we would change if asked to conduct the event again.

One of the things that worked best was having volunteers serving Veterans – not Veterans serving Veterans. This served a two-fold purpose. It enabled our Veterans to enjoy the day without the responsibility of jumping behind a bar or BBQ following their attendance at formal Anzac Day events. It also enabled the volunteers, who were predominantly from non-serving backgrounds, the opportunity to say thank you to those who have served, by serving them, and it was this genuine desire of all our volunteers that was clearly evident on the day – in military terms they were the centre of gravity and contributed enormously to the event’s success.

Bank SA was the first organisation we approached for support and, without hesitation, CEO Nick Reade offered their huge marquee, free of charge, and put a call out to his staff to consider volunteering. Indeed, some of you who attended would have enjoyed a breakfast sandwich prepared by Nick and his wife Kerry, or his Business Manager Mike Diakomichalis. To Nick and the staff at Bank SA I extend our sincere thanks.

As is often the case with community events of this nature, there are some individuals who do that little bit extra to ensure the success of the day. Ms Traci Aitken, owner/operator of BlendIn Catering, used her catering and service delivery skills to secure ingredients for the breakfast, pre-cooked enough of the bacon and sausages to give us a kick start for breakfast and lunch, and importantly delivered the goods to us at the parade ground. Traci has supported several veteran related activities in the past and we are indebted to her for the advice and support she and her team provides.

Mike Kent and the Appleton Protection Group not only provided security for the event but assisted us in that arduous but necessary task of setting up, car park supervision, dismantling and cleaning up, all tasks that are beyond their normal remit but that they undertook willingly – thank you.

The Avoca Hotel, particularly Board Member Rob Gillies, provided great advice, access to media, reduced price beverages and secured ice from Adelaide Ice Service free of charge that ensured the drinks were cold and there was a variety of choice available – it’s the little things that matter.

Mark Donnelly and his team from Bakers Delight at Central Market provided the rolls and bread for both breakfast and lunch free of charge – incredibly helpful folk who saw a gap and filled it without hesitation. Similarly, Days Eggs, JDE Coffee, Dan Murphy’s at St Peters, Fleurieu Milk Company, Toll (refrigerated trailer), Bidfood (bacon, rolls and serviettes), Paul Shillabeer at Alsco (linen) and Tony and Mark’s (onions) all provided goods free of charge acknowledging the importance of Anzac Day and its significance to the veteran community.

Coopers Brewery donated 50 cartons of their signature product, Pale Ale, and the remainder at reduced cost and our thanks go to Mr Cam Pearce and his team for their support. Similarly, Olympic Party Hire and Viking Rentals went out of their way to source, erect and pack up the infrastructure we needed for the event.

The team at the Ex-Military Rehabilitation Centre (XMRC) sliced and diced enough onions to reduce the population of Adelaide to tears. Adelaide City Council, Rent A Fence, AOT Skip Bins and Apollo Lighting combined with all our other providers to add to the success of the day.

The RSL’s Anzac Day Committee deserve a particular mention. This energetic, all volunteer group organise and conduct the formal services around the City from the Youth Vigil on Anzac Eve to the formal service at the Cross of Sacrifice following the Anzac Day March. These are significant events that form the basis of Anzac Day commemorations in the City of Adelaide and committee Chairman Ian Smith and his team do a great job every year.

We were very fortunate to be able to draw on the experiences of those who had been involved in Anzac on Torrens previously and we are very grateful for their advice and guidance throughout the planning of the event.

Finally, to the staff at Veterans SA, Chantelle, Rebecca, Justin, Paul and Clare, thank you. It was a demanding month but through hard work and a singular focus you delivered an event to the veteran community that was highly regarded and well received. Job very well done.

Noted Adelaide personality, journalist and Ambassador for the Vickers Vimy Epic Flight Centenary, Lainie Anderson, referring to Anzac on Torrens and the associated commemorative events in her column in the Sunday Mail on 28 April titled ‘Day of diversity shows just how lucky we are’ wrote:
‘It was all so friendly, so gentle, so South Australia. And a perfect salute to those who’ve served to defend our lucky lives.’

Thank you Lainie, thank you Adelaide, and thank you to all who have served.


View the gallery here.

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