FORMER RAAF pilot Jim Vick said the big crowds and large number of young people at this year's Anzac Day centenary services confirmed that the sacrifices made by Australia's defence forces were worthwhile.
Mr Vick, 91, has coordinated the Anzac Day ceremony at the small township of Ellerslie for many decades and told the large crowd at this year's 9am Ellerslie service he had attended the Warrnambool dawn service beforehand.
The size of the dawn service crowd had been "unbelievable" and he was thrilled to see it included hundreds of children, Mr Vick said.
"Seeing all those and all those children" had made him realise the sacrifices made by Australia's servicemen and women had been worthwhile to give Australians the freedom they enjoyed today, he said.
The crowd of more than 100 people at the Ellerslie war memorial was also huge given that Ellerslie has a permanent population of only about 30 people.
While the township's population has dwindled, prior to the First World war it had about 900 people.
Ballangeich and Ellerslie war memorial committee member Stan Ross said that larger population, and the fact that many farm workers were not considered as doing essential services, meant that scores of men from the district enlisted for the First World War.
Eleven local men are listed on the Ellerslie war memorial as mortalities from the First World War with the Second World war claiming the lives of three others.
Mortlake RSL branch president Mervyn Hampson told Ellerslie ceremony the bloody Gallipoli campaign had brought together Australia and New Zealand.
A bond had been formed between Australians and New Zealanders as they worked together to endure their nation's heavy casualties, Mr Hampson said.
That bond between the two nations continued today, he said.
The large crowd at the Ellerslie memorial enjoyed the result of an upgrade of the memorial's grounds that this year received new asphalt walkways, seating and new fencing.
The upgrade was done with the help of community working bees and a federal government grant.