Commemorating 100 years of ANZAC at Farina
Source: Lindsay Gould, Farina Restoration Group
Just off the Oodnadatta Track, about 26 km north of Lyndhurst in outback South Australia, there is a War Memorial on a low rocky escarpment overlooking the ruins of a township. The township was Farina.
In 2009, a group of caravaners formed the Farina Restoration Group Inc. with the objectives of preserving what remained of this historic township, and researching and recording its history before both were lost forever. The only permanent residents are the owners of the surrounding Farina Station.
In the course of the Group’s research, it was discovered that 33 local men had enlisted for service in World War I and 34 enlisted in World War II, but there was no physical acknowledgment of their service in the district.
In 2010, with support from the Department of Veterans Affairs, members of the Farina Restoration Group built a Memorial to these men. The Memorial is situated on a low rocky escarpment overlooking the former town site. It comprises a stone cairn supporting a memorial plaque and flagpole, and a shelter covering honour rolls for each conflict with accompanying story boards outlining their backgrounds.
On Anzac Day 2012, the Group organised and conducted the first Dawn Service to be held in this remote area. Approximately 140 locals from the area, campers and tourists were in attendance. After the service, everyone gathered at the historic underground bakery for a prepared breakfast followed by a Commemorative Address.
Following the success of this Service, the Group decided to mount another service in 2015 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Landing at Gallipoli.
Although the 2015 service was not widely advertised, approximately 200 locals, overseas tourists, campers, visitors and members of the Farina Restoration Group attended. A most welcome visitor was a granddaughter of Corporal William Parsons MM, a Farina man who enlisted in World War I. He was awarded his medal for gallantry in action in Palestine in 1916.
As in 2012, a formal Dawn Service was conducted by Returned Service personnel with participation from locals and members of the Farina Restoration Group.
Again, all joined for breakfast following the service.
This year, to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Landing at Gallipoli, the Group commissioned a commemorative plaque with their service details, for each of the nine Farina men who lost their lives in World Wars I and II.
After the breakfast, a call was made for any ex-service personnel to identify themselves. Unknown to the organisers of the Service and each other, eight Vietnam Veterans had made the journey to attend. In a moving ceremony, each of these veterans participated in dedicating the plaques.
The plaques have now been incorporated in the War Memorial precinct. They are mounted on a wall of local stone built by volunteers of the Group, as part of its 2015 work program. The Commemorative Wall is defined at ends by a soldier with arms reversed, and an airman at the salute.