THE Upper Hunter was a hive of activity on Monday as Anzac Day services went ahead in Murrurundi, Merriwa, and Gundy.
A combined crowd of more than 500 people attended the dawn and midday ceremonies in Murrurundi.
The services were held at the Murrurundi RSL Hall in previous years, but a change in venue saw local residents gather at the Bowling Club’s Memorial Gate.
Upper Hunter Shire mayor Wayne Bedggood was present at both events, while local Vietnam veteran Bobby Paton and other servicemen were also in attendance.
Three mounted light mounted horse participants in full regalia were part of the dawn service, with the number increasing to five at the midday ceremony.
Scone Grammar School student Lauryn Crackett addressed the audience at the second service.
“We pause today to acknowledge all current and former members of our defence forces,” she read.
“No Australian is left untouched when a member of our defence force is killed in action.
“It is difficult to comprehend the grief associated with the loss at war of a parent, partner, child or sibling; let us also ensure that we remember the families.”
In Merriwa, about 300 people were present throughout the day as they witnessed the dawn service, march from the front of the RSL to the Cenotaph, and remembrance service.
One of the town’s oldest returned servicemen, William George Walmsley, better known as ‘Chick’, was a special guest at the ceremonies.
Mr Walmsley, aged 89, joined the army late in the war and was sent to Rabaul, in New Guinea, as part of the occupation force.
After his discharge from service he returned to Merriwa, later establishing a successful business.
A few hundred people also watched the march from Gundy Road to the service at Gundy RSL Hall.
Guest speakers Ellie and Mikaela Tilse recounted their experiences from a trip to Belgium and France as part of the Anzac centenary commemoration last year.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.