On Sunday, April 25, 2021, the hills community, and Puffing Billy Railway will honour the service and sacrifice of veterans who served in defence of the country, and those who continue to serve today, at an early morning dawn service held by the Emerald RSL.

Paying tribute to all men and women in the Australian Defence Force, Puffing Billy will travel to Emerald’s Anzac Place memorial and deliver a traditional whistle salute at the end of the remembrance ceremony, at 6 a.m.

Officially opened by Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of Australia, in 2015 as part of the centenary celebrations of Anzac Day, this sacred space will be available to only 500 ticketed attendees and, from 5 a.m., livestreamed via the Emerald RSL website and Facebook page.

To further commemorate the occasion, passengers of Puffing Billy will get a chance to visit Emerald in one of two return services departing Belgrave to Emerald at 10.00 a.m. and 12.30 p.m.

Visitors can wander along the Anzac Walk that starts across the road from the cenotaph in the town’s centre, just outside the National Australia Bank, and listen to a digital audio trail that tells the story of 32 lost local diggers who enlisted in the armed forces and travelled up on Puffing Billy in 1914-15, before enjoying a bite to eat at one of the local Emerald eateries.

“As a long-held tradition for many people in the hill’s community, it is a great privilege for Puffing Billy to be part of this significant event and to remember the sacrifices of those who have served in Australia’s armed forces, those who continue to serve, and those who have lost their lives to protect this country,” said Peter Abbott, CEO of Puffing Billy Railway.

“Since 1900, Puffing Billy Railway has been instrumental in supporting the local community. More than 100 people working and living in this community enlisted to fight in 1914-15, many of them travelling on Puffing Billy, so the railway’s involvement in the dawn service recognises this long link to the hills community. We look forward to giving passengers an opportunity to visit Emerald and learn about the 32 diggers of Emerald and how they left their families, friends, work and way of life, to do what was right for Australia.”

You must register for the Dawn Service in Emerald at www.obgproductions.com.au/anzac.

To book tickets for one of Puffing Billy Railway’s Belgrave to Emerald services, please visit www.puffingbilly.com.au.

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