THE huge impact that World War I had on small south-west communities will be outlined by Peterborough amateur historian and author James Affleck at Hawkesdale’s Anzac Day event.
Mr Affleck will give a brief address at Hawkesdale’s dawn service at 6am on April 25 before later giving a longer presentation about those from small south-west communities who served in the First World War.
Mr Affleck will on April 17 launch his book, Stories Untold & Faces Forgotten, that tells the stories of soldiers from local towns including Hawkesdale, Koroit, Port Fairy, Macarthur and Penshurst who enlisted for the Great War.
Mr Affleck’s research found that of the 50 people from Hawkesdale who enlisted, seven were killed.
However, even that toll was below the average 20 per cent fatalities, or one in five, that was suffered by Australian servicemen and women during the carnage.
The Hawkesdale dawn service will be held at the town’s war memorial in Dawson Street, and Mr Affleck will give his longer presentation from about 6.30am in the nearby memorial hall.
Hawkesdale is among many towns in the south-west making a special effort for this year’s Anzac Day to mark the centenary of the landings at Gallipoli.
The township’s streetlights will be switched off during the dawn service to provide a special atmosphere for the event and The Last Post will be performed by a bugler.
New lights at the memorial have also been installed thanks to funding from the Veterans Affairs Department’s Saluting their Service program, Moyne Shire and the Hawkesdale and District Development Action Committee (HADDAC).
The upgrade to the memorial area will be formally acknowledged at the end of the dawn service by Moyne mayor Colin Ryan.
The lights include one that highlights the memorial’s flagpole and flickering lights on surrounding bollards.
Other improvements include a plinth for the memorial itself.
The dawn service will be followed by an Anzac Day breakfast in the town hall that will include sausages in bread, a cuppa and Anzac biscuits.
Hawkesdale P-12 College’s primary pupils and members of the public have also been encouraged to contribute to a display of war memorabilia in the hall for the Anzac Day ceremony.
In other initiatives, HADDAC secretary Frank Huglin said it was continuing to work with Moyne Shire to improve the “reflection area” that includes the war memorial and commemorations to others who have served the local community.
Mr Huglin said the committee wanted to add more colour to the location, possibily through an art project or the installation of flags.