Anzac Day services across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie have been scaled back or cancelled completely, as the small RSL sub-branches struggle to adhere to COVID-19 regulations.
The current public health order requires Anzac Day organisers to collect contact details for tracing, fence off their events and have guests seated - which many groups say they can't afford to coordinate.
Wangi Wangi's service appears to be the most comprehensive throughout Newcastle and the Lake, with two public services and a march organised for next Sunday.
Sub-branch president Leigh Warren said the march would be invite-only and the sub-branch was lucky the cenotaph was located within the RSL Club grounds, meaning attendees will be required to check in or register through the club system.
"We won't have the RAAF for the march, but we'll still have the pipes and drums, firefighters, scouts, schools and 80 historical military vehicles," Mr Warren said.
In other areas, sub-branches have had to do things differently than usual in order to comply with regulations.
Stockton RSL Sub-Branch secretary Tom Mason said the usual dawn service and morning march had to be cancelled.
"A permit to use the ANZAC Cenotaph on Mitchell Street must meet all the COVID-19 requirements for events and this is beyond our small sub-branch means," he said.
But the sub-branch has been offered use of Club Stockton facilities and the vacant lot next to the club to hold a service at 9am. The event will be open to all, but is ticketed so attendees must contact club reception to register.
Some groups are holding private services for their members and families, such as Toronto, Swansea, Cardiff and Pelican Flat.
Other locations however, have had to call off their services entirely for another year.
The Speers Point service - which attracted 8000 people in 2019 - will not go ahead.
Boolaroo/Speers Point RSL Sub-Branch president Lyle Dalton said he wasn't very happy about the restrictions placed on Anzac Day services without support from governing agencies.
"We would have had to put up a wire fence, seat everyone, have them register and then we would have had to employ security to keep people on the outside away," he said.
"We could have a small service at Speers Point cenotaph, but how do we stop people joining in? It's just beyond our capabilities."
"It's very disappointing for us but also for the public. We built the event up from 1000 people to 8000 in 2019."
For those who can't attend their local service, RSL NSW is encouraging people to again "light up the dawn" as they did in 2020, by lighting a candle in their driveway at 6am and having a moment of silence and quiet reflection.
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