April's Anzac Day Commemorations On Fraser Island

Today marks a special time in Australian history and we're publishing an extra special blog to commemorate our fallen soliders for Anzac Day.
Starry, starry night. The Milky Way above Kingfisher Bay.

April/May is a spectacular time of year on Fraser Island and the clear night skies make for some fantastic star-gazing – which our international visitors and our city dwellers never fail to appreciate.

These days there are plenty of smart phone apps available like Star Map or Star Gaze, which will help you find your way around the night sky, or ask our Rangers to point out the Southern Cross or Milky way as we head out on our guided night walks.

Fraser Island was the secret training ground for special commando troops during World War II as they trained for operations behind enemy lines?  It's absolutely true!

On island, these transitional months of March through May sees an influx of bird and marine life and subtle changes in our fauna. It's also fabulous for walkers and hikers who travel from all parts of the globe to try their hand at our Fraser Island Great Walk trails in the national park.

For those that prefer shorter walks, there is plenty of medium/easy level, self-guided walks in and around the resort grounds – including a historical walk to the remains of the old Z-Special Commando School, which is particularly poignant as we head towards the Anzac centenary later this month.

Today, Saturday, 25 April 2015 – ANZAC Day - will mark one hundred years of remembrance for the Australian and New Zealand soldiers that served and died in WW1.  This year, our famous SS Maheno shipwreck will play a pivotal role in the ANZAC Day centenary commemorations on island on Anzac Day.

The SS Maheno will take centre stage on 75-Mile Beach this Anzac Day
Originally built as a luxury cruise liner operating on the trans-Tasman run between Australia and New Zealand. As World War I broke out, the liner was converted to a hospital ship and, some four months after the Gallipoli campaign started, was anchored offshore and served as a floating hospital for thousands of Australian and several hundred New Zealand soldiers.

When ANZACS were transferred to the French western front, the Maheno was there to transport soldiers from particularly bloody battles in Fromelles and Somme. 

With ANZAC centenary celebration planning underway, the folks at Rotary have stepped in to fund the passage of seven school children, their families and teachers, from the tiny New Zealand town of Maheno, who will bring the original ship's bell across the Tasman. A replica will ring during a special ANZAC ceremony on April 25 and another will be given to the Maritime Museum in Brisbane.

Lest we forget.