Honouring shared history among the magpies – Anzac Day

The warble of magpies and chuckling of kookaburras filled the country air at Majors Creek as residents marched behind Australian Defence Force Academy cadets to the 150-year-old local church for the Anzac Day service.

CAPTIONSinger-guitarist Bill Waterhouse performs at the Majors Creek Anzac Day service. Story and photos by Corporal Luke Bellman.

Opening speaker and organiser for the past 15 years, Rudolph Stachow, said the village always had a different theme for Anzac Day. This year it was the Vietnam War, in which 523 Australians died and 3025 were wounded.

“I was an infantry soldier in one of the battalions, one of many who came from cities, towns and villages throughout Australia; I was from Majors Creek,” Mr Stachow said.

The service included a commemoration of the fallen, a requiem prayer for the nation and the rifleman’s prayer.

Music was performed by singer-guitarist Bill Waterhouse, and Vietnam veteran Colleen Mealy attended as the guest speaker.

One of the first Army nurses sent to Vietnam, she heard about her deployment on ABC radio.

She was 22.

Mrs Mealy spoke to a solemn crowd about the conditions, what life was like for nurses and how the Australian soldiers displayed courage and humour.

CAPTIONVietnam veteran Colleen Mealy speaks at the Majors Creek Anzac Day service.

The service ended with a WW1 commemoration of Majors Creek resident Private Thomas John Cook, who served in the 45th Australian Infantry Battalion.

In 1917, at 22, he was killed in action on the Western Front.

Local resident Bruce McCarron, an ex-serving Army Major of 20 years, said the service was not just about remembering those who fought or died.

“It’s about understanding our past and building a future we can learn from,” he said.

“It’s crucial we remember, reflect and come together to honour our shared history.”

Mr McCarron, who moved to Majors Creek in 1976 when his father bought the pub, joined the Army when he was 18.

Majors Creek has its roots in the military. Major William Sandys Elrington, who the town is named after, founded it in 1827 when he was granted 2650 acres of land. He sold his holdings in 1845 and returned to England.


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