Coast residents rise early for record Anzac Day crowds
BEFORE the sun even had time to peek through this morning, thousands of bleary-eyed Coast residents woke to pay their respects on the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.
Anzac Day services were held across the region, attracting record-breaking crowds.
By Jenna Cairney
BEVAN Christensen is a Second World War veteran but to this Flaxton war hero, today is all about remembering his father, who fought in the First World War.
"He served with his two brothers and his sister," Mr Christensen told the Daily after the record-breaking crowds died down at the Montville Anzac dawn service this morning.
"His youngest brother was killed in Belgium and his other brother was injured but my father came through it unscathed."
Mr Christensen enlisted in July 1940.
He served in the Middle East, New Guinea and Borneo. He said today was a day of "memories".
Mr Christensen is held in high esteem by his friends at the RSL Mapleton Sub Branch, which presented the moving dawn service.
Major Andrew Hargreaves, a former Montville local, who now serves in the Royal Australian Engineers, returned home to give an address to the huge crowd that gathered at the Range.
Across the Coast record numbers of people are turning out to pay their respects this Anzac Day.
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By Gail Forrer
You couldn't really count the numbers, perhaps 10,000.
It didn't matter, what mattered were the thousands who had died in a terrible war and what was in the hearts of the people who came to remember them.
From 3.30am the streets of Noosa Junction filled with cars and people full of purpose and direction as they snaked their way up Noosa Hill and down to the special Anzac Dawn Centenary service on Main Beach.
A lone bush turkey gingerly pecking its way between pathway to bush, seemed to be only one dawdling in a sea of people.
At the beach, the gentle sound of curling waves was louder than the subdued crowd who waited patiently in the dark to experience the re-enactment of our Anzac troops landing on the Gallopoli Peninsula.
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In every way, from the choir to the words of the Lone Soldier, the surfboat landing to the Last Post and Reville, the ceremony honoured our fallen and told us why we never want this to happen again.
As an orange dawn coloured the horizon, a collective whisper rose through crowd:
"I'm so proud to be an Aussie."
By Bianca Clare and Owen Jacques
AMID a crowd of thousands paying tribute to fallen Anzac soldiers at a dawn service on Mooloolaba beach, Stuart Jeffers stood proud with medals pinned to each side of his chest.
The 78-year-old serviceman has lived on the Sunshine Coast more than seven decades, but this was the first time he had seen the surf boats breach the waves to lay a wreath for the lost.
He has traditionally paid his respects at the Nambour ceremony, but a change of address brought him to the Mooloolaba shores this year.
Mr Jeffers is the second of three generations to have served his country in uniform.
On the left side of his jacket were his own medals, earned during his time as a national serviceman in the 1950s.
On the right were his father's, a tribute to the man's bold efforts in Papua New Guinea during World War Two.
Mr Jeffers' two sons have also worn the colours of the Australian Defence Force, serving "all over the world", according to the proud father.
"I was amazed to see so many people lining the beach," he said, after the national anthems had rung out.
"I was really proud to be here today."
The surf boats which carried club lifesavers through the waves, are thought to be the same shape and size as those which carried the Anzacs on to the Turkish sands of Gallipoli.
By Lauren Grounsell and Megan Mackander
The Anzac spirit was alive on Kings Beach this morning as thousands gathered to remember those who died for our freedom.
Surf Boats brought the Australian and New Zealand flags to shore in a re-enactment of the landing of Gallipoli.
As the rowers' bare feet sunk in to the sand a red firework exploded in to the dark sky, reminding us of the rain of gunfire that met the Anzacs on Gallipoli's shore.
Guest speaker Commanding Officer 816SQN RAN Marc PavillardÖ said the young soldiers were fuelled across the sand of Anzac Cove and in to the dusty trenched of Lone Pine not by the strategies of war, but by reasons closer to their hearts.
By Emily Ditchburn
MORE than 5,000 people stood together in silence, as the thundering boom of fireworks heralded the start of the Kawana Waters Anzac Day Dawn Service.
Kawana Waters RSL Sub-Branch president Kevin Hurman was almost speechless as he looked at the sea of people who turned out for the Anzac centenary service.
"It's amazing," he said.
"Last year we conservatively said we had 4,000, and there's so many more people this year."
Mr Hurman said the fireworks were an effort to capture an iota of the atmosphere the soldiers would have experienced on the beaches of Gallipoli, and had been well-received.
COTTON TREE SERVICE
By Nicky Moffat and Iain Curry
A DARK, cloudless and beautiful Cotton Tree sky greeted the thousands who gathered at the cenotaph on The Esplanade for today's 4.28am service.
The solemn sound of the bugle rang through the night sky as people stood in silence.
The mood was quiet and reflective, and after the short ceremony and national anthems for New Zealand and Australia, the crowd lingered to watch the sun rise over the water.
Former Maroochydore resident Brian Smith flew from Papua New Guinea where he worked to the Sunshine Coast to be part of the special service.
"I usually try to see the service when I can," he said. "It's so important to remember to stop and think about the people who served."
By Terry Cunningham
THOUSANDS of people turned out at both locations at Buderim today to remember the Anzac heritage.
The 5am Dawn Service at Buderim District Park - a new location on the eastern escarpment - proved particularly popular with many more people than expected attending.
The march and parade through the main street also attracted a large crowd who then went to the 9am Main Service at Buderim Mountain State School Pine Forest.
Following these events many people visited Buderim's Craft Cottage to see Anzac themed displays.
By Nicky Moffat
AUSTRALIA'S servicemen and women didn't go to war in 1915 for their country, says RSL Nambour sub-branch chaplain Kerry Evans.
They did it for each other.
"Our guys went to war just 14 years after Australia became a nation. It was pretty early stages," he said.
"They didn't go to war because of Australia. They went to war because of their mates and they fought because of their mates.
"That became part of our DNA and that's why mateship is so important to who we are now."
Nambour's Quota Memorial Park was brimming with people for this morning's 5.20am dawn service, Mr Evans said.
"Normally we have a wonderful turn-up but because of the 100th we knew there would be an even greater turnout from the public than in other years," he said.
"The dawn service had easily 4000 people."
At 9am thousands of people joined a commemorative march down Howard and Ann Sts that ended at Quota Memorial Park.
They included federal and state members of parliament, school students and teachers, defence force members past and present, Army Cadets, scouts, cubs groups and more.