Community unites for first Anzac Day service in 20 years

A small south-west community will host its first Anzac Day service in more than two decades thanks to hardworking volunteers determined the district’s history live on among younger generations.

More than 200 people will descend on the Woodhouse-Nareeb Soldier Settlers Memorial Hall on Tuesday for a ceremony and reunion of descendants from the district’s soldier settlement.

One of the convenors, Jenny Edwards, said work and planning had been ongoing for about 12 months to overhaul the community’s memorials and pine tree grove. 

​Mrs Edwards said it was important second-generation soldier settlers shared stories of the past with their children.

“We felt we not only needed to remember those who first moved into the soldier settlement, but also pass it on to the third generation and impart that knowledge to them before we ourselves leave the area,” she said.

Fund-raising, government grants and philanthropic trusts helped the group raise the money needed to finish the work, and tireless community effort made it a reality.

“With some money behind us we started on the nostalgia grove. Originally, trees were planted there for soldier settlers who wished to have a tree. We have trimmed and replanted all those trees and then we’ve planted a few more for people who have been there for the last 30 years,” Mrs Edwards said.

Department of Veterans Affairs grants helped the group update the plaques that accompanied the trees, telling the story of the people behind them.

“We’re emphasising a personal tribute to all those people who served,” Mrs Edwards said.

The Woodhouse-Nareeb soldiers settlement was originally made up of about 50 blocks. More than 30 families call the district home today.

“Our community was always strong and united and even in modern times that still happens,” Mrs Edwards said.

“During the tough times people drop everything to help.”

The Anzac Day ceremony and march begins at 11am.