I’ve walked down Bourke St Mall numerous times, become somewhat of an expert in using trams, eaten at a sushi restaurant in Swanston St and walked through the sand of St Kilda Beach. However, there was still one thing I needed to cross of my Melbourne Bucket List – attending the Dawn Service on ANZAC Day at the Shrine of Remembrance.
It’s become a tradition for me to attend the Dawn Service back at home in Ballarat. Although it might have been a pain to get up so early in the morning, there’s no other feeling that comes close to seeing the sun rise as the bugle plays and ‘The Last Post’ rings out into the silence of crowd.
Getting to relive the Dawn Service at the most popular place in Victoria was an experience like any other and one I will never forget. From waking up at 3:30am to catch a train into Melbourne from La Trobe, there was already a quietness that surrounded everyone who was attending the service. Walking up to the Shrine from Flinders St Station had an aura about it I had never encountered in Melbourne. I had become so used to wrapping my head around the hustle and bustle that the silence and darkness of the city was an all-new and alien world.
45,000 people, dead silent. There was a particular eeriness about it that I couldn’t even describe. There was a new side of Melbourne I saw, one that seemed to only appear at this very moment every year.
It made me realise that, we as a community of Australians, have the ability to come and stand together for at least once out of our busy lives to commemorate those who lost their lives in war. I know, you’ve been taught about this since school, but to really live it and experience the ability for people to come together is one of the most surreal experiences.
As the sun rose the city began to return to the Melbourne I had become familiar with. Tram bells ringing, car horns tooting and the chatter of people never seeming to fade away. People began to return to their lives, as did I. But I will never, ever forget the feeling of standing in a crowd of thousands in the middle of a city, not one uttering a word, and the most deafening sound surrounding me – silence.
(Now onto a lighter note, I finally get to reveal my no-makeup-still-half-asleep-from-catching-the train-at-4am face in the picture below. Points for spotting the Menzies College/La Trobe pride.)
By Meg Kennedy