Community remembers the fallen, celebrates Monash

By Myles Peterson

Idyllic autumn sunshine bathed hundreds as they gathered to commemorate Anzac Day at the Lifestyle Shepparton village on Channel Rd yesterday.

In its third year, the event has doubled in size each April25, with about 250 taking part yesterday.

Former serviceman Neil Siddall spoke about the civilian and military history of Sir John Monash, arguably Australia’s most famous and celebrated World War I general.

The speech had a regional flavour, with Mr Siddall noting Sir John spent several years in Jerilderie as a child and later designed the original Shepparton/Mooroopna bridge.

The reinforced concrete structure, a revolution in its day, extended across the old course of the Goulburn River from Fryers St and was built a few years before the war.

During WWI, Sir John went on to command Australian, British and US soldiers, serving at Gallipoli, in the Middle East and across Europe and rising to be one of the finest commanders of his generation.

Extensive research went into Mr Siddall’s account, who said he knew little of Sir John’s life before talking about him yesterday.

‘‘I just knew he was a general in the army. I didn’t know the details of the input into civilian and military life,’’ he said.

Kevin Liddell, who served in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968, said the Lifestyle Shepparton community boasted eight former servicemen and thanked the 250 attendees for their support yesterday.

‘‘We just put a bit of work in between everybody and the RSL has been great of course,’’ he said.

Mr Liddell also thanked Lifestyle Shepparton management for their assistance in setting up the event.