PRIDE ON SHOW: The Anzac Day march in Prince St, Grafton, which ended in Memorial Park. The march will be bigger from next year when Grafton and South Grafton sub-branches combine.
PRIDE ON SHOW: The Anzac Day march in Prince St, Grafton, which ended in Memorial Park. The march will be bigger from next year when Grafton and South Grafton sub-branches combine.

Changes for Anzac centenary

THE Centenary of Anzac has prompted major changes to next year's Anzac Day services in the Clarence Valley.

A change to the Grafton and South Grafton daytime marches is at the top of the list, with a combined march planned to take place on the north side of the river.

Grafton RSL Sub-Branch honorary secretary Denis Benfield said a committee had been formed between the Grafton and South Grafton RSL sub-branches to plan and co-ordinate the changes.

"At this stage, the dawn services will continue as in previous years; one in Grafton and one in South Grafton," he said.

"The South Grafton march will no longer occur, and will instead combine with the Grafton march."

Grafton Centenary of Anzac Committee chairman David Morgan said the 100-year milestone presented a good opportunity to combine the marches.

"It should make a greater impact," he said.

Mr Benfield said the centenary would not change the feel of next year's Anzac services.

"I don't think any year makes it any different to any other... one would say the same thoughts are there all the time.

"Obviously it is a big thing, being 100 years, but the sentiment is no different."

Mr Benfield described the involvement of schools at Anzac Day ceremonies as "tremendous".

Anzac Day 2015 will fall on a Saturday, and South Grafton RSL Sub-Branch president Don Durrington said it would allow more people to attend services.

The Grafton Centenary of Anzac Committee is currently working with Clarence Valley Council and police to gain appropriate approvals for services and marches.

They also have plans to stage a re-enactment of the mobilisation of war volunteers from Copmanhurst to Grafton.

Preliminary discussions for the role-play include more than 40 local horsemen taking part in the six-hour ride into town.

Grafton RSL Sub-Branch president Brian Bultitude said the committee was working with the Copmanhurst Campdraft Society to plan the re-enactment.

"It will be a mass ride in, just like the World War One veterans would have done.

"They swam their horses over from Ramornie, and came from Coaldale, Baryulgil, Fine Flower... all of the Upper Clarence regions.

"They originally signed up at the Copmanhurst Hotel in the First World War, then rode in to assemble in Grafton."

Mr Bultitude said the Grafton Centenary of Anzac Committee was working together with local politicians and the Clarence Valley Council to secure a big screen for Anzac Day.

"After the local services, people will be able to watch the Gallipoli service live on the big screen," he said.

On the weekend following Anzac Day 2015, the committee has plans to hold a Centenary of Anzac Mayoral Ball, in conjunction with Clarence Valley Council.



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