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Catering for Anzac crowd cluster

Plans are in discussion to help ensure next year's Shepparton Anzac Day dawn service crowd can properly watch the ceremony.

DARREN LINTON April 26, 2014 4:34am

Popular: Shepparton RSL president Peter McPhee at yesterday's crowded dawn service.


 

Shepparton’s Anzac Day dawn service has become so popular it is causing embarrassment.

Shepparton RSL president Peter McPhee said members were concerned as the crowd grew each year more and more people were finding it difficult to see the service.

‘‘It was just a sea of faces,’’ he said of the crowd that spread across Welsford St and Fryers St into Monash Reserve.

With this year marking the centenary of the start of World War I additional measures were put in place, including a larger public address system, fencing and portable grandstands.

The aim was to spread the crowd and keep a clear line of sight to the memorial, so more people could see the service.

But those measures were overwhelmed by the biggest crowd ever seen at a dawn service in Shepparton.

An even bigger crowd is expected next year to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli landing.

‘‘We still haven’t got it right, we’ll be talking to Greater Shepparton City Council,’’ Mr McPhee said.

In the longer-term, a plan has been floated to close Marungi St and make use of the water course to the west, but Mr McPhee said realigning the memorial would be an issue.

‘‘It is very difficult, the design of the memorial won a national award,’’ he said.

In the short-term, finding a way to accommodate an extra 500 or 1000 people next year is the problem the RSL will work with the council to resolve.

‘‘It is too embarrassing to have such a crowd and people that can’t see,’’ Mr McPhee said.

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