The upcoming annual ANZAC Day flag raising at the Colac, Warncoort, Whoorel and Beeac Cemeteries has been cancelled due to social gathering restrictions put in place by Federal and State Governments in order to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
The raising of Australian flags next to the graves and memorials of those who have served the Australian Defence Forces has become a tradition in the lead up to ANZAC Day since 2014, when it was first initiated by the Geelong Cemeteries Trust.
Increasingly each year, family members come forward with service records of their loved ones to have a flag raised in their honour for ANZAC Day. In 2019, 1,114 flags were raised with the help of Colac Secondary College students.
Geelong Cemeteries Trust CEO Darryl Thomas OAM says that although it is disappointing that the tradition won’t go ahead this year, it is necessary.
“The health and safety of the community we serve is our number one priority. The Trust has put significant measures in place to be on the forefront of combating the spread of Coronavirus by making changes to our operations, and by cancelling events and traditions, during this period.
“Due to current government recommendations and restrictions, the flag raising can simply not go ahead. Although this may be upsetting for many families, we all need to remain at home during this time, given the current threat.”
“In lieu of the flags, to show respect for the Australian men and women who have served our country, who now rest or are commemorated in Colac district, the Trust will have a floral wreath placed at the Flag Memorial within the Colac Cemetery.
“We hope that families will take the opportunity to celebrate ANZAC Day from their own homes this year, as we all do our part to combat the spread of this virus. We wish to thank the community for their interest in the flag raising project and visitation on past ANZAC Days and look forward to bringing the tradition back for ANZAC Day in 2021,” Darryl said.
For information about how recent restrictions have impacted the operations of Geelong Cemeteries Trust, click below: