Countdown to Anzac centenary as record crowds predicted
DateApril 25, 2013 – 12:05PM 91 reading now
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Former defence force chief Peter Cosgrove has predicted “immense” crowds of up to 100,000 in Sydney’s CBD for the 2015 Anzac Day centenary, revealing plans for an entire day of activities in the city’s centre are well under way.
Mr Cosgrove is the NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council Chair, and after Thursday’s dawn service he and NSW RSL President Don Rowe both said the 20,000 who turned out for the 98th anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli are likely to increase five-fold in the next two years.
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An estimated crowd of 15,000 gathers around the Cenotaph for the Anzac Day dawn service in Sydney’s Martin Place.
“We need to create not just the space here for as many people as can safely assemble but we need to have other spaces close into the city which will be used to broadcast what happens here [at the Cenotaph] and to link all the events,” Mr Cosgrove said.
“We see people on Anzac Day 2015 staying in the CBD for the whole day, we see activities planned to bridge between solemn moments like the dawn service and the march and we see the broadcast out of the dawn service in Gallipoli coming into the city and people staying around near giant screens to watch that. We can understand that there might be a lot more people wanting to make a day of it in 2015.”
That said, he also noted that next year’s 99th anniversary would be hugely important.
‘The 100 years is a very evocative anniversary’: Peter Cosgrove, centre,at this year’s Anzac Day dawn service at Martin Place.
‘The 100 years is a very evocative anniversary’: Peter Cosgrove, centre, at this year’s Anzac Day dawn service at Martin Place. Photo: Kate Geraghty
“Well of course next year will be looking down the barrel of the start of World War I, which for Australia in August 1914, people passed through the streets of Sydney, jumped onto troop ships and went up to Rabaul to fight the German forces there … we’ll probably be seeing the numbers ramp up a bit next year, but 2015 will be the next big step,” he said.
“The 100 years is a very evocative anniversary and we’re going to find that throughout the four years of the World War I centenary period, that we have a lot of remembrances about things which were significant.”
Mr Rowe, who is also on Mr Cosgrove’s advisory council, said the dawn service crowds continued to increase and the bursting Martin Place venue would be likely dwarfed by the turnout in 2015.
Crowds gather during the 98th Anzac dawn service at the Martin Place war memorial, Sydney. Click for more photos
Anzac Dawn Services
Crowds gather during the 98th Anzac dawn service at the Martin Place war memorial, Sydney. Photo: Kate Geraghty
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/countdown-to-anzac-centenary-as-record-crowds-predicted-20130425-2igbe.html#ixzz2RRSiNOrF