Anzac Day march to go ahead

Veterans march through Geelong on Anzac Day 2018. (Rebecca Hosking) 180154_26

By Luke Voogt

Geelong’s Anzac Day march is set to go ahead after Geelong RSL this week submitted paperwork for the event to council.

“It will go ahead,” Geelong RSL president Andrew Hann said.

“We’re currently dealing with the events people at the City of Greater Geelong. It’s been a lengthy process working out QR codes, marshals and that type of thing.

“If it’s not happening, there’s got to be some good reasons.”

The pledge comes after the Independent last month revealed the Point Danger dawn service at Torquay and various Geelong services had been cancelled.

Geelong’s 700 metre Anzac Day march is planned to begin out the front of Officeworks on Malop Street at 11am, with marchers required to disperse upon arrival at Johnstone Park.

Only ex and current service people will be permitted to march, with marshals and signs to advise crowds on social distancing.

“Use a bit of common sense and do what we’ve been doing throughout the whole COVID-19 [pandemic],” Mr Hann said.

Mr Hann praised Geelong RSL’s commemorations officer Mark Lee, who has spent months working with Victoria Police, council and the Department of Health to organise the event.

“I’ve got to take my hat off to him for what he’s doing – blokes like that get these things happening,” he said.

A former army reservist and current Victoria Police senior sergeant, Mr Lee served as a policeman in Timor Leste, the Middle East and Solomon Islands.

He estimated about 500 veterans and ADF members would take part in the march and encouraged them to register early.

“We’re encouraging marchers to contact the RSL prior,” he said.

“They can do that in person or if they’re part of a contingent, that contingent can supply a list of names to the RSL.

“We’re just finalising all the paperwork and approvals.”

Elderly or frail veterans can have one family member or carer with them for the march, he advised.

Ocean Grove will hold dawn and mid-morning services capped at 1000 people, while Barwon Heads services have been cancelled.

Portarlington and St Leonards RSL has published plans online for services and marches in both towns.

Council was unable to confirm the event would go ahead at this stage, a spokesperson said.

“Hopefully the RSLs will be able to provide some more information by the end of next week.”