Mag and Mick Kiley of Murray Downs along with members of the Murray Downs neighbourhood are set to creatively honour Australia’s war heroes this Saturday morning. They will collectively walk to the end of their driveways, at 6am, with candles and memorabilia in hand to honour all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. Mag Kiley said “We thought this was a creative and appropriate way to honour our heroes. I texted all the residents in our estate and everyone will be taking part. Radio 3SH will be playing the last post at 6am, so everyone here is ready to go.”
Mick Kiley is happy that the lockdown didn’t prevent the occasion. “I treasure the opportunity each year to honour my Dad, W R Kiley, who served in New Guinea during WW11.” Mick will be proudly holding his Dad’s framed photo which includes his war medals on Anzac morning. The RSL has approved a plan for people to commemorate Saturday’s Anzac Day at dawn from their driveways. With Anzac Day's steeped traditions cruelled by forced isolation due to the COVID-19 crisis, Australians will instead walk to the ends of their driveways on April 25 and light up the dawn. RSL branches in every state have unanimously endorsed the gesture, with families across the nation expected to stand at their gates, on balconies or verandahs at 6am and hold a candle to fallen heroes. Since regular public marches and services are cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, radio networks including 3SH in Swan Hill have signed on to livestream services to enable people to tune in outside on phones and tablets. Musicians everywhere are being called on to take to their front yards to play the Last Post and Rouse or Reveille for neighbours. Residents are being urged to dress windows and mailboxes with poppies and kids to make bright red "wreaths" from painted egg cartons to hang on doors. What began as a grassroots idea to mark Australia's great day of remembrance has grown into a national campaign. "We get thousands and thousands of people to dawn services in a normal year and a very great proportion of those are from the general public," RSL Australia general manager Kim Henshaw told AAP on last week. "So this gives them a way that they can have their own private commemoration. We see it as very positive indeed." Credit for this innovative idea is being directed at Ballarat man Justin Wilbur, the son of a Vietnam veteran.