Film sets moving mood at Gallipoli

Prince Charles addresses the crowd during the centenary Anzac day dawn service at Anzac Cove.
Prince Charles addresses the crowd during the centenary Anzac day dawn service at Anzac Cove. Stuart Cumming

A POWERFUL short film detailing a family's horror at receiving a dreaded final telegram from the shores of Gallipoli introduced what was an emotional dawn service.

The Telegram Man, featuring actors Jack Thompson, Sigrid Thornton and Gary Sweet, drew plenty of tears from the 10,500 audience members who watched large screens at the northern and southern ends of the Anzac Cove site.

It certainly had an effect on Sunshine Coast resident Judy Polkinghorne.

"It moved me to tears, as a mother of three sons," Ms Polkinghorne said.

The service was her second on the peninsula.

"(It was) a little bit more structured and organised than in the past but that had to be for the 100th anniversary," she said.

"I was very moved by the Maori, I'm not Kiwi, but their presentation of their song and I just thought overall it was lovely.


"I think the Australian Government and the TurkishGovernment should be congratulated for a wonderful event."

The service proper featured addresses by the Prince of Wales, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

Traditional Aboriginal and Maori music as well as choral hymns and military songs added to the sacred atmosphere.

The impact of core service elements of The Ode, The Last Post, the minute's silence and then Reveille was deepened by the shadow cast across the site by the hills on which so many men perished.

Former Toowoomba resident Cameron Stewart was at the service with his father Brendon.

"What an amazing experience to be able to be here at dawn and see what it was like the day that they arrived here. It was an incredible experience", Cameron said.


A lot of the soldiers who served and died were about his age, in their early 20s.

"So to see what they were faced with (was) a very emotional experience."

He and his father wandered through some of the cemeteries on their walk up to Lone Pine for the mid-morning Australian service.

"It's always very inspiring to go through some of those cemeteries and have a look at some of the inscriptions on them and see some of the stories behind the men that came here."

Topics:  anzac day 2015 road-to-gallipoli toowoomba

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