Cenotaph Vigil

Published on 16 April 2019


The Hellyer District Scouts & Guides will be holding the fifth, ANZAC Eve Vigil at the Burnie Cenotaph from 6pm April 24th, until the Dawn service on ANZAC day. 

This vigil stems from the Army tradition of “Holding Ground” & started as a Scouting event in Western Australia back in 1933, when the State War Memorial in Kings Park was vandalised. The local Rover Crews took it upon themselves to protect the Cenotaph on the Eve of ANZAC day, a tradition that they still uphold. When a similar thing happened in South Australia in 1999, Scout Groups started doing a Vigil there also, this now involves all youth organisations from South Australia.

In 2015, through the vision of one Tasmanian Scout Leader, who had seen the benefits of mateship & understanding of tradition, that youth members received when he lived in South Australia, he put forward that this ANZAC Eve Vigil would be a great thing for Scouting in Tasmania to participate in. Hobart & Launceston were picked as the two locations, due to greater numbers, for these Vigils to take place.

Hellyer District Commissioner Steve Locke was the driving force to ensure that a Vigil would be ran at the Burnie Cenotaph & with the support of the Burnie RSL, Burnie Council, Leven District Rover Crew, City of Burnie Brass Band, Burnie Guides, Hellyer Venturer Unit & the Wynyard, Somerset & Burnie Scout Groups, this event has grown each year.

It involves youth members taking turns to “guard” the corners of the Cenotaph for a period of time depending on their age. Joeys, 5-8, do 10 minute stints, Cubs, 8-11, do 20 minutes stints & Scouts, 11-15,Venturers, 15-18, Rovers, 18-26, will spend between 30-45 minutes stints. They stand in silence during these stints, march on & off guard duty, throughout the night from 6pm on 24th April until the Catafalque party for the Dawn Service arrives at 5.45am on ANZAC Day. All members that have participated during the Vigil then form an honour guard for the Veterans as the arrive for the Dawn Service.