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Lest we forget

Prison grounds fell silent to remember the ANZACs on Friday and Saturday. Staff from Ivanhoe to Nowra, Glen Innes, Broken Hill, Cooma and everywhere in between attended services hosted by Prison Chaplains at various correctional centres.  

A number of colleagues participated in local dawn services and ANZAC Day parades. In Sydney the CSNSW band marched along with 20,000 war veterans, current servicemen and women, police and relatives through the CBD.

They also attended a morning service on the eve of Anzac Day on the Long Bay Correctional Complex led by General Manager Tony Voss. It was a moving event, with a staff parade and a catafalque party taking its position around the flagstaff.

Assistant Commissioner Kevin Corcoran, Pastor Gary Ring and Roger Perry from Malabar RSL addressed the audience, which included Director Marilyn Wright and representatives from local schools. The event concluded with the laying of wreaths and the Last Post.

Business Unit Manager at Goulburn Correctional Centre Max Pearce travelled to Canberra with his horses which pulled a restored World War I gun limber during the ANZAC Day parade near the Australian War Memorial. The horses, which he trains, were involved in a dress rehearsal along Goulburn's main street two weeks prior to the big day.

At Glen Innes Correctional Centre, 80 staff and inmates gathered to pay homage to Australian service men and women. Prison Chaplain Pastor Mark Dawson conducted the service which included speeches and prayers by staff and inmates. Pastor Dawson told a stirring personal story about his father who served in the Pacific during World War II.

An inmate commemorated the 100 year anniversary by painting a remembrance board with the symbolic rising sun. Staff and inmates signed the board with messages of thanks to service men and women.

Ivanhoe Correctional Centre officer and ex-serviceman Justin Mitchell attended the local dawn service at the cenotaph with CSNSW colleagues and then led the community's ANZAC march through town.

CSNSW staff and inmates had just finished refurbishing an anti-aircraft gun and erecting a fence around the cenotaph. The community project was led by fellow correctional officer Darren Puls. The newspaper published a letter thanking the group for completing the project under a very tight schedule which was interrupted by rain.

Manager of the CSNSW Museum in Cooma Les Strzelecki spent two months crafting a multi-media sculpture to commemorate 100 years of ANZAC. He made it from timber, metal, fibreglass and textiles and described it as a "symbol of respect and a reminder that we should all acknowledge respect as an essential human value".

It is a centrepiece which has been installed in a lake at the entrance to the Cooma township. Many locals say it's a powerful statement for the 100 years of the ANZAC tradition.

At the South Coast Correctional Centre Prison Chaplain Reverend Ray Beckman led a service during morning parade which was broadcast around the whole centre through the PA system. Correctional Officer and former Navy officer Kevin Williams gave the opening address followed by a prayer for the fallen soldiers.

At Bondi Beach, Long Bay Correctional Officer and former Army Reservist Steven Csergo had to wait for torrential rain to stop before he could restore an ANZAC mural he had painted for Waverley Council and the North Bondi RSL sub-branch in 2003.

During the Sydney storms, sand had been blasted up onto the parkland and practically covered the artwork. Before Steve could even start after the rain stopped he had to rely on bulldozers to remove the sand.

He spent eight hours touching up the mural which had deteriorated over time. Councillor Dominic Wy Kanak visited Steven as he worked against the clock to finish the artwork in time for the Saturday service.

The piece, which depicts an Australian WWI digger paying his respects to fallen comrades as well as a scene from the Kokoda track and Huey helicopters from the Vietnam War, is in a prominent spot in Bondi and complements a recent mural which commemorates Aboriginal soldiers. Steve painted it for young Aboriginal people at the Waterloo youth centre.