Remembrance Day 2023 in photos

Four RSL NSW members reflect on Remembrance Day, and a recap of commemorations across the state.

At a glance:

  • RSL NSW members were invited to attend the Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, Sydney.
  • Poppies were projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House at dawn and dusk in recognition of the service and sacrifice of veterans and their families.
  • Recognition of the sacrifice of friends and family, and quiet reflection were common themes for veterans in attendance at Saturday’s commemoration.
  • Services organised by RSL sub-Branches across the state provided the opportunity for the community to unite.

RSL NSW members, veterans, current serving members, their families and the general public have come together at Remembrance Day services across NSW to reflect on service and sacrifice, mateship and camaraderie.

RSL NSW members, representing sub-Branches across the state, were invited to attend the Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, Sydney, for wreath-laying, the reciting of the Ode, and a minute’s silence at 11am.

Here’s a recap of commemorations in Sydney and at sub-Branches across NSW, and the reflections of four RSL NSW members on this year’s services.

Dawn service

Poppies were projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House for a dawn service, a gesture of solidarity with and recognition of veterans and their families that was later replicated at dusk.

RSL NSW President Mick Bainbridge, marking his first Remembrance Day in the role, recited the ‘Ode’ at the service, which was attended by The Honourable David Harris MP, Minister for Veterans.

Martin Place service

Later, a warm and breezy spring morning greeted attendees at the Martin Place Cenotaph in Sydney.

An Acknowledgement of Country was provided by Uncle Harry Allie BEM, a Gudjala Elder.

Premier’s Anzac Memorial Scholars Ruby Hensley and Lucas McClintock recited ‘In Flanders Fields’, while the ‘Ode’ was again recited by RSL NSW President Mick Bainbridge.

Those who came forward to lay a wreath during the formalities included: Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of NSW; The Honourable Chris Minns MP, Premier of NSW; The Honourable Tanya Plibersek MP, representing Prime Minister Anthony Albanese MP; and RSL NSW President Mick Bainbridge.

The catafalque party this year consisted of serving members from the HMAS Supply.

“Younger ADF veterans … deserve our respect and gratitude,” remarked Rear Admiral Christopher Smith AM CSM, Fleet Commander of the Royal Australian Navy. “Many have lost friends, and there is still much pain from these losses.

“These veterans stand alongside us every day, making their contribution, serving their country and community.”

Reflections from RSL NSW members

“Both my grandfathers served in World War II, one of them serving for 1,000 days which was pretty incredible,” said Sam Willmott, a veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan and now a member of the Coogee Randwick Clovelly RSL sub-Branch. “So I always knew the importance of Remembrance Day from a young age.

“One of my good friends is on deployment at the moment – I’ll shoot him a message later.”

“The minute of silence resonates with everybody,” remarked Gillian Renfrey, formerly of the British Armed Forces and now a member of the Woy Woy/Ettalong/Hardys Bay RSL sub-Branch. “You remember friends and colleagues you have lost.

“No matter where you go on Remembrance Day, the camaraderie is exactly the same.”

“Every year we keep up the tradition, but the service is done with a contemporary twist,” recalled Nikhita Sahay, a member of North Bondi RSL sub-Branch.

“In the bustle of daily life, I like hearing how quiet the city can be.”

“I reflect on the service of my family members and my own service,” said Bronte Pollard, Chair of the RSL NSW Young Veterans’ Committee and RSL NSW Liaison Officer at the National Centre for Veterans’ Healthcare.

“I’m really glad that the messaging around Remembrance Day is being explained more and understood. Australians are very focused on ANZAC Day, but Remembrance Day is very special for different reasons.”

Commemorations across the state

RSL sub-Branches also held commemorative services that recognised the sacrifice of veterans past and present, and provided the opportunity to come together in support of veterans – here are some highlights.

You can view coverage of other events on the RSL NSW Facebook page.

Whether you’ve served for a single day or decades, RSL NSW welcomes veterans of any service length and background to join the organisation. Access support services and become part of a like-minded community of peers by becoming a member of RSL NSW.

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