Before the sun had risen on 25 April, 2017, 75 years after World War Two, the bohemian city of Newcastle stood to pay their respects to those who fight and have fought for Australia.
Anzac Day, a day where our nation unites as one to remember our b rave heroes and to share stories of honour and courage, to link with other countries, who too sacrificed.
It is a day to stand proud, but rather this year Australians who tend to flock overseas to Port Moresby, Gallipoli or Villers-Bretonneux seem to have kept put at home.
It follows the increasing number of terrorist attacks, the numerous deaths and casualties and the warnings from the Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT, 2017b) that an extensive amount of Europe has been updated to high risk zones for tourists.
Travellers are already on high alert and aware of their precarious safety with the two most popular overseas destinations for Anzac Day ceremonies, France (DFAT, 2017a) and Turkey (DFAT, 2017c), having been declared as a state of emergency for some time.
Anzac Cove in Gallipoli has suffered a record low attendance this year, according to Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA, 2017a) with approximately 1000 tourists traveling for the dawn service, a significant reduction since the centenary year of World War One in 2015, which saw peak crowds of over 10,000.
In the wake of the 39 deaths and over 70 wounded in the early hours of New Years Day, the recent attack on the Istanbul Nightclub, Reina, plus the suicide bombings at the Istanbul Airport this past June, tourists are scared for their safety.
It would be expected that these centenary years in particular would be the most popular for tourists.
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Dan Tehan, said “more troops died in battle in 1917 and more were taken prisoner than in any other year. There has never been a year when Australia lost more to war than 1917. And yet they fought on, men asked to take on an extraordinary task” (DVA, 2017b).
With double the amount of security in place at Gallipoli than there were guests, no one can deny the efforts to protect our people. Even our tiny cities of Australia were more equipped than ever before.
Novocastrian Daniel Rauch, who has attended the Nobby’s Dawn Service every year for the past decade explains as a local he could see an increase in security at the ceremony.
He said, “This year I noticed a larger police presence and I have never seen garbage trucks blocking the streets like they were this year.”
Newcastle resident, local business owner and avid world traveller Georgina Taylor said that it has been her lifelong dream to be a part of a dawn service in Turkey and it was her plan to attend in 2017.
But after hearing of all the terrible events throughout Europe and especially in Turkey itself “I decided to cancel my plans. The group of friends that I was planning on going with were all too worried and I was much too nervous to go by myself.”
There have been no reports of terrorist activity related to any 2017 Anzac Day ceremonies to date.