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Organisers of Newcastle's Anzac Day commemorations say the community will again be encouraged to pay their respects by candlelight at the end of their driveways this year, with no plans for a public Dawn Service at Nobbys or a march through the city.
The COVID-19 pandemic is set to affect commemorations for the second year in the Hunter, though different strategies are being employed to mark the day by the handful of RSL sub-branches the Newcastle Herald spoke to yesterday.
Ken Fayle, the convenor of Newcastle's Anzac Day organising committee, said a pipe band would be on the Anzac Walk at Bar Beach on the evening of April 23 to begin the weekend, before a candlelight vigil at the Memorial Grove in the southeastern corner of Civic Park on the Saturday night.
There will be no public events in the city on Anzac Day - the Sunday - Mr Fayle said, but there would be an invitation-only service at 10am in a fenced-off section of Civic Park.
He said the committee was encouraging people to commemorate Anzac Day with a candle on their driveway at 6am - like what many did last year.
"We cannot in any way, shape or form do something in the open and control the crowd. Logistically, we can't do it," he said.
"I think - this is a personal thought - some people will take advantage of going to their local memorial in the park and spending a few minutes paying their respect through the day."
Meanwhile, Maitland RSL sub-branch vice president Graham Solomons said the plan at Maitland was to hold a Dawn Service and morning commemoration.
Mr Solomons said the sub-branch hoped to conduct a march, but was waiting on statewide advice closer to the day - meaning it was "up in the air".
Over at Wallsend, where the local RSL sub-branch says crowds reached almost 5000 people on Anzac Day in 2019, it will be a smaller commemoration than usual.
Assistant secretary Michael Phillips said that although RSL NSW said controlled public commemorations could go ahead, the COVID-safe conditions for holding such an event were not workable for the sub-branch - so there would be a smaller invitation-only service at Wallsend RSL Club.
"The caveats are too onerous on us [for public outdoor services], it's unmanageable," he said.
RSL NSW president Ray James said last week the organisation would encourage candlelight commemorations in driveways again this year after the initiative proved successful in 2020.
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