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Antarctic Dreams...

May 21st, 2015

Antarctic Dreams...

My fascination with Antarctica and everything frozen began when I was a 10-year-old farm girl on a school trip to the Antarctic Gallery at the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand. The collection of old photographs, clothing and maps told the stories of Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition and Ernest Shackleton's long voyage to save his crew and those images and stories never left me.

Five years later I dropped out of high school, announced to my traumatized parents I was going to get a job and save enough money to meet (or stalk!) Sir Peter Scott, Robert Falcon Scott's son who founded what is now the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, England.

I wrote to the Trust and asked if they had any jobs I could do, thinking I would eventually get to meet Sir Peter. I got a very nice letter back, not from Sir Peter, but from the curator saying "lets talk when you get here." A year later I arrived in Slimbridge, letter in hand ready to meet the man. The alarmed curator gave me a summer job, sent me off with a shovel to clean up wildfowl droppings and said Sir Peter should visit the Trust soon.
He did and I was so overwhelmed I tripped over my own feet and mumbled an incomprehensible "nice to meet you" and he moved on, probably wondering what kind of people his curator was hiring.

After that I set my sights on going to Antarctica and to visit Ernest Shackleton's grave site on South Georgia and some 25 years later I got there.
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At sea for 30 days, covering 2500 miles on a former Russian research vessel, the Sergey Vavilov operated by a Canadian expedition.
Our starting point was Ushuaia in Southern Argentina and we traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula via the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.
There were 95 passengers and 60 crew, we made 12 land excursions, and took several zodiac cruises.

We had close encounters with five species of penguin, an inquisitive leopard seal, testosterone-fueled elephant seals and many cute seals.
We saw seemingly endless species of albatross and other sea birds all fascinated by who we were and why we were passing through their home.
We sailed through sea conditions which varied between the flat calm of the inner waters of the Antarctic Peninsula to 30 foot swells in the Drake Passage.

During the first few days it became clear that most of us were not born sailors. A wise guide summed up seasickness in one sentence.
"First you think you are dying, then you want to die, then you wonder why you haven't died."

Any kind of dignity we might have had when boarding the ship, rapidly evaporated during the early days. Meal times seemed to bring out the sea-sickness in those toughing it out without medication. The sight of the contents of their soup bowl rolling side to side with the motion of the ship was too much to bear and the usual suspects made hasty retreats to their cabins.

Getting dressed for an excursion was another dignity sapper. Our expedition guides advised us to wear layer upon layer but not only did it take 20 minutes to apply the layers and by the time we were fully dressed we were, as my London cabin-mate would call it, "boiled in the bag."

The ultimate aim of the expedition was to spend as much time off the boat as possible,maximizing the opportunity of wildlife and iceberg sightings while staying safe and not causing stress to the wildlife.

Before each excursion we were briefed about landing conditions, possible hazards such as playful fur seals and other wildlife we could encounter. The most important rule was staying 10 feet away from all wildlife. However you were allowed to stand your ground if the came up to you - and they did.
Maybe it was the color of my wet weather gear or maybe I looked like a giant penguin,but for day after day I became irresistible to birds.

On South Georgia, one curious South Polar Skua took a liking to me or its own reflection in the lens of my camera while I was laying on my stomach photographing penguins. It fearlessly wandered up to me and with a bemused expression, tilted its head from side to side trying to figure out who was this
handsome newcomer he was seeing in my lens.

Also in South Georgia, a young King Penguin also found me intriguing and fascinating. It gave me several light nudges with its beak until it got bored and wandered off.

There were travelling days between Ushuaia and the Falkland Islands and then onto South Georgia when we did not get off the boat for up to three days. The boat would steam along at a sedate 14 knots with swarms of seabirds in hot pursuit.

The international crew of guides consisted of Australians and Canadians and a solitary Scotsman. Between them they were experts in Antarctic history, geology, geography, photography and Antarctic flora and fauna.

What made this trip special was the crew's enthusiasm and passion for the Southern Ocean and its inhabitants.

From the quiet Russian captain who kept us safe and the ladies who left chocolates on our pillows at night, to the zodiac drivers who got drenched trying to get us the best view possible of a seal on a rock and the photography guide who had endless patience for our stupid questions,they all helped make my Antarctic dreams come true.

The Hinckley Fire

October 16th, 2014

The Hinckley Fire

This past Labor Weekend as the rest of Minnesota headed to the cabin or grilled in the backyard I took a somewhat morbid bike ride into the past to a small lake north of Hinckley - Skunk Lake.

On September 1st, 1894, the town of Hinckley, Minnesota was one of four towns in Northern Minnesota obliterated by a firestorm taking the lives of more than 400 people.

Back then Hinckley was a lumber town of 1400 people, where business was booming around a seemingly endless supply of pine trees.
The trees were chopped, stripped of branches and taken to Hinckley to be milled. That logging practice of leaving small branches on the ground to dry out year after year was just one of several factors that came together that day that contributed to a devastating Perfect Storm erupting over the town.

Another was the weather. The summer of 1894 was extremely hot and dry and by September 1st, no rain had fallen in the region for three months. Small fires had erupted and were slowly simmering and smoldering in the undergrowth. Hinckley residents has become used to smoke drifting across the town from "nuisance" fires and went about their day as usual.

Mid-morning on September 1st a slight breeze bought the nuisance fires to life turning them into a cyclonic infernos as they came into contact with each other and unusually cooler air in the atmosphere. The result were two rarely-seen, yet horrifying, walls of flame 200 feet high blowing temperatures of 1600 degrees towards the town, incinerating all in its path.

By the time the people of Hinckley had realized what was about to happen there was no way out - except for a train driven by a man who slammed his burning locomotive into reverse for six miles, saving the lives of some 200 people.

The Saint Paul & Duluth Railroad between the Twin Cities to the south and Duluth to the north rattled through the town several times a day.

On September 1st, engineer James Root was driving his train south from Duluth. As he approached Hinckley he was confronted with a desperate crowd of hundreds of people running along the train tracks, being pursued by a wall of flames. Realizing the train was their (and his) only hope he flung his engine into reverse as people clambered on board. By the time they made it six miles to the north the fire storm had caught up with the train which by then had become engulfed in flames. Mr Root's terror stricken passengers had to abandon their escape path and threw themselves into a lake - Skunk Lake. It was about 4.30 pm.

On September 1st, 2014, the 120th anniversary of the fire, I drove to Hinckley, just over one hour north of Minneapolis. I wanted to find Skunk Lake and stand on the railway line alongside the lake at exactly 4.30pm.

The old railway line is now part of the Willard-Munger State Trail, a series of paved biking trails between Hinckley and Duluth and about six miles north was Skunk Lake. It's an average looking lake, not very big, not very deep. A quiet country road about 500 feet away. There is an understated bench and a sign with a brief history of what took place.

I wandered around the town of Hinckley the day before, clambering over railway lines, looking for some sign or link to the past. I set my camera up on the railway and took some shots of the northbound train tracks.

Some might say it was a somewhat ghoulish way to spend Labor Day, (and they did!). Some, like our beloved editor and chief, Cindy Ackley-Nunn said "Oh My God - that sounds like something I would do!".

I wanted to acknowledge a historic event, I wanted to pay my respects, celebrate those that found sanctuary in one of the 10,000 lakes Minnesota is known for and remember those that didn't. And that was the sad part - on the 120th anniversary I don't think anyone else did remember.

There was no memorial service, no flowers at the memorial and mass grave and very little bike traffic on the trail.

I wonder if it was too horrible to remember, even though those that could remember are long gone. I wonder if it was so long ago and some much has happened since then, multiple wars, depressions, recessions and revolutions.

Hinckley did rebuild. There is a huge casino on the outskirts of town, most likely the town's largest employer. A far cry from the timber yards in their heyday.

There were some positives to come out of the tragedy. Forestry management practices were formed and federal agencies that monitor and fight wildfires were developed.

Grytviken - Whaling Abandoned

September 12th, 2014

Grytviken - Whaling Abandoned

It was once a bustling South Georgian whaling station at the end of the world.
Nowadays, the deserted settlement of Grytviken is known better for being the final resting place of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and the southernmost place for a shopping deprived cruise passenger to buy a postcard.
Much of this history is frozen in time, as you walk around what is left of the settlement.
Penguins wander around bleached and discarded whale bones scattered all over the foreshore, while seals find a sunny spot on the upper beach between the wooden and rusted whaling boats.
Although the Grytviken Whalers Museum tells a fascinating story of hardworking men making a success of an unpopular industry in a desolate corner of the world, it is outside the museum where you get a real feel for what it was like to make a living in Grytviken.
Over the years the salt and the moisture have taken their toll. From whale oil tanks to ancient boats and chains, to the metal frame of a soccer goal, almost everything is the same color - varying shades of rust.
But standing out from the rust is the clean, white whalers' church. The church was prefabricated in Norway and consecrated in Grytviken on Christmas Day, 1913. Lutheran pastors came and went until 1931 when one admitted "religious life among the whalers left a lot to be desired."
When the last pastor departed, the church was used to store potatoes and show films. Despite frequent repairs, the church deteriorated over the years but in 1995 it was restored to its former glory.
In November 1904 the Norwegians established the first Antarctic whaling station in Grytviken. On two ships came 60 men, a prefabricated factory, accommodation buildings and everything they needed to set up shop in the isolated islands.
By Christmas Eve that year, the first whale was brought to Grytviken for processing and during the next 61 years 175,250 whales were processed.
On the human side, 1000 people were employed at the height of the industry, 13 births were registered, there were six marriages and 200 recorded deaths.
The people came in search of one thing - whale oil.
Whale oil was used for lighting, lubrication and tanning and in later years was turned into margarine and soap. Glycerine was an important whale by-product used in explosives and while whale bones and meat were processed into fertilizer, the meat was frozen for human consumption.
Even in the early days, there was concern the whaling industry would destroy the whale population and in 1906, Falkland Islands governor, William Allardyce introduced a licensing system to regulate whaling in South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. He limited the number of whaling licenses and put measures in place to ensure the entire carcass was used.
It was also illegal to kill Southern Right Whales and mothers with calves.
Unfortunately all Mr Allardyce's good work was undone by the arrival of the factory ships in 1925. Factory ships were equipped with ramps so whales could be processed on board, which was not only more efficient but allowed them to operate outside the license system. In 1930, 41 factory ships were operating in the Southern Ocean and the number of whales killed had increased from 14,219 to a massive 40,201. Not surprisingly, the market was flooded, prices for whale oil plummeted and every whaling station in the Southern Ocean, except Grytviken, closed.
Whalers were forced to diversify and began hunting elephant seals for their oil and despite a quota system, elephant seal operations were profitable.
Too few whales meant the end of the road for the Norwegian-run Grytviken station and it closed in 1962. A Japanese company briefly re-opened the station, hoping to make a success of frozen whale meat but could not make it pay.
Grytviken closed for good in December 1965.

Loud, Bossy and Pecky - Monticello Swans

August 9th, 2014

Loud, Bossy and Pecky - Monticello Swans

You know the story..you start feeding a couple of birds in winter..then next winter they bring their relatives, the year after that they bring the in-laws and before you know it, 200 birds come for dinner every day. This story is like that..just with swans. The first swans showed up at Monticello, Minnesota in the winter of 1986, as the late Sheila Lawrence was feeding the ducks and geese in the yard of her riverside home. Every year more came until now when more than 2,000 trumpeter swans winter around Monticello. Each day, many take advantage of the buffet at the Lawrence house, consuming up to 1600 pounds of corn, with a little help from ducks and geese. The swans tolerate only Jim Lawrence, who took over for Sheila when she died in 2011. They are big, loud, pecky and bossy and with their long necks they are tall enough to look you in the eye...that is why I stayed behind a fence.

My Urban Environment

July 29th, 2014

My Urban Environment

By Amanda Stadther
Richfield, Minnesota. Some citizens can trace its origins to 1890 - 194 years ago. I have lived here for just 18 months.
A former agricultural town Minnesota's oldest suburb is one-tenth the size it used to be having been gradually swallowed up by neighboring high profile cities including Minneapolis and Bloomington.
Today it is home to 35,000 people, including young families, retirees, an expanding Hispanic community and electronic giant Best Buy's corporate headquarters.
Minneapolis-St Paul Airport and the Mall of America sit just across the city boundary with Bloomington.
Richfield is only five miles south of downtown Minneapolis, for the most part pretty safe and close to several large freeways.
Not surprisingly it seems everyone wants to live here with homes often changing hands in days, not weeks. Some not even advertised, selling by word of mouth alone.

I walk a lot. To some (like my husband) my daily walk of seven miles around Richfield seems excessive but I have certainly got to know this city in a way you wouldn't by driving around. I often have my camera, hoping to capture images from the past that are still relevant today.
Many times I come upon scenes that have a 1970's feel to them like the local bowling alley with classic cars from that era parked outside. Richfield High School with its football stadium seemingly straight out of the movie "Grease." Homes - simple but with immaculate gardens and lawns. Obviously much treasured and adored.
Some residents, like my husband, were born and raised here. His father, a butcher, had a store which is now part of a strip mall, its new occupants, a cable television company and pizza joint. A Hispanic Day Care in a building which had been a gas station and a bakery in its previous lives.
For some residents of Richfield change is not coming easily. A local private catholic school must sell off some valuable land adjacent to a Dairy Queen and Best Buy outlet. They say it is the only way they can pay off a $9 million debt. Those with banners protesting the sale made the evening news.
For others spending money does not sit well. In 2012 members of the Richfield High School Board decided to ignore public opposition and went ahead with a plan to spend $200,000 on lights for the school's baseball field. Richfield voters have a long memory and many board members were shown the door at election time.
Some of these photographs I have taken of my new hometown are for a photography competition run by the Richfield Arts Commission. They are looking for images to use as publicity for the city. Not much in the way of prizes but plenty of local glory for the winner!

amandastadther.com
kiwionline.us

Wolf Kisses and Spiders

June 24th, 2014

Wolf Kisses and Spiders

In a quiet corner of Eureka, Minnesota there is a small farm, not unusual for these parts, but its occupants are not what you would expect.
Furever Wild owner Terri Petter runs a non-profit farm for "fur bearing animals" and hopes to educate the public by opening up the farm to visitors during the summer months.
Residents include Arctic Foxes, Prairie Dogs, a Bobcat, a Canadian Lynx, Fisher Martens, Porcupines, Raccoons, Red Foxes, Opossums, Skunks, Goats, Pigs, Rabbits and some 20 Grey Wolves.
In order to keep the farm solvent, Ms Petter puts aside a few weekends a year for photographers to come to the farm to get close to some of the wolf pups and raccoon kits. It's not the cheapest two and a half hours you'll spend, but for photographers it is often a once in a lifetime opportunity to get close to some elusive Minnesota wildlife.
Our group of nine photographers are taken to a clearing in a nearby forest a short hike where we are met by a team of volunteers and four energetic three-month-old wolf pups. It is a swamp..with a good four inches of water for pups to splash around in. There is no fence or enclosure, just a ring of volunteers ready to tackle any escapees, be they wolves or photographers.
The pups are let loose and instantly want to make friends with the humans. Those of us squatting in the swamp, trying to get photos of the pups at eye level, are knocked over by an enthusiastic puppy jumping into our lap and trying to drown us in dog-food-flavored wolf kisses. (There is a sentence I never thought I'd say!)
After they got used to us the puppies began scampering around the trees and through the water, testing the skills of the defensive line of volunteers. At three months old, any escapee was easily scooped up and carried back to the "preferred" area.
For the next hour they just couldn't stay still and were incredibly hard to photograph. They squabbled, they argued, they snapped at each other. They ran through the nearby woods, splashed around in the water and they were retrieved by volunteers dozens of times. So far all my photos were blurry shapes with tails.
Gradually though, they slowed down. They found some old bones and settled down to have a chew and that's when I got most of my photos. I was pretty much lying in the swamp by then, a swamp which I suspect was an outdoor bathroom for a variety of forest-type critters.
After we got our wolf photos the volunteers took the wolves away and came back with some tiny raccoon kits. They were incredibly cute and much easier to photograph. After about 20 minutes it was all over and we headed back to the farm.
I was soaked from the neck down, stank up the place pretty good, but pretty happy I spent the money. I was unaware of a creepy, swampy hitch-hiker who had found its way into my jacket.
I got home, hung up my jacket and watched in horror as the biggest spider I ever saw, climbed down the sleeve and dropped onto the kitchen floor.
Now I don't mind mice or rats, I am fairly ambivalent about most everything that crawls like snakes and cockroaches as long as they go one way and I go another....but swampy, creepy spiders as big as my fist are a deal breaker.
Of course I erupted into hysterics. Big burly not-afraid-of-anything husband came running. He saw the spider and went a strange grey color, said something unprintable and called the pest guy.
Pest Guy came and found Mr Spider and took him to a happy place somewhere away from me.
Don't think me and swamps were meant for each other.

The Real India

May 26th, 2014

The Real India

India is one of those places you will never forget, especially if you are a photographer but it is hard work!
The first time I went I was so terrified I didn't leave my New Delhi hotel for two days. Many people who go to India stay in big-name Western hotels surrounded by gates and security, but not me...I had to be different, I wanted to see the real India, how people lived and worked.
The real India was hot, humid, loud, fast, crumbling, dirty and barely under control. The hotel I chose was in a busy part of the city with many markets, food sellers, beggars and young men on motorcycles seeming to have a death wish as they curled around citizens on foot at high speed. For two days I sat on the front steps with my camera trying to have brave but on the third morning it was hunger that finally made me leave my perch and wander down the street.
It was about 5am, about as quiet as it gets in New Delhi. There were street traders setting up their stands, street cleaners and people on their way somewhere. I was a bit nervous taking candid photographs of people going about their business but most didn't seem to care, they had a busy day ahead and I was just a momentary distraction.
As I became more confident I began buying train tickets, bus tickets and started traveling around.
Before I left I did a lot of reading. The general opinion was that India was an exhausting place to visit which was absolutely true. Getting from A to B can be nightmare with ever-changing schedules, ancient trains and doubtful train tracks. It is also an experience hard to match anywhere else. Traveling around on India Railways in third class was one of the most unforgettable...especially if you get off the beaten track. People would stare for hours, chattering among themselves and often a teenager would be nominated to come sit next to me and find out why this lady was not in the first class section with the other "rich people." They would ask very personal questions. How much money did I make? Was I married? Why am I not married? They were fascinated by my digital camera and how I could take their photo and they could instantly see the photo. This would send the kids into such happy hysteria that the entire family would gather.
If the families got off before me at a station along the way they would all stand waving goodbye to me from the platform like I was some long lost family member.
I read that walking around with a fancy camera was just "encouraging" pick-pockets to rob you blind. I traveled with the bare minimum of gear, my 11mm and 300mm lenses were all I needed. I kept my gear close, often hidden from view and I had no problems.
I read that women should think twice about traveling alone. Yes, maybe. But again, it's a matter of being aware of where you are and what you are doing. Walking around with fancy gear, proclaiming what country you are from and complaining a lot will draw attention and not good attention.
I had read that some people would let you take their photos but would often want payment in return and could become quite aggressive about it. That is true too, it's a fact of life if you want to see the real India.
For all its hassles India can reward the photographer with stunning human interest images, colorful landscapes and amazing architectural photography.

amandastadther.com

Things I Have Done

May 7th, 2014

Things I Have Done

Things I've done..not all were intelligent...but I took some photographs along the way..

*Whale watching...six meter swells, set a vomiting record.

*Camel riding in outback Australia...would have been better had I not been hungover.

*Been to Guernsey...(see camel riding)

*Wilderness camping in Kenya..still have scars from the nocturnal spider bites and sunburn.

*Abseiled off a cliff in North West Scotland...twice.

*Hitch-hiked alone around Australia when I was 19...pretty dumb, lucky to be alive.

*Spent a month in Antarctica...best thing I ever did.

*Visited Ernest Shackleton's grave in South Georgia...always wanted to meet him.

*Met Sir Robert Falcon Scott's son...as above.

*Rounded Cape Horn in a Russian research ship...actually pretty dull.

*Can say 'watch out for the elephant pooh in five languages.

*Visited a nudist camp as a young journalist...rookies get all the best assignments.

*Invited to be a member of above nudist club..gracefully declined.

*Launched myself into a media scrum chasing Prince Charles...Prince Charles inadvertently kicked me in the kidneys...proud moment.

*Met a New Zealand Prime Minister...she made a joke and I didn't get it...maybe that's why she now works for the United Nations and I...don't.

*Survived months in India...never got sick once.

*Stuck my hand in the Ganges River...as above.

*Ate crocodile in New Orleans...still don't know why.

*Taken many 'save the camera at all costs' falls...getting pretty good at it.

*Spent many days hiking in New Zealand wilderness alone....try it, it's fun.

*Stood on top of mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, the Sears Tower, Empire State Building and the World Trade Center...still not keen on heights.

*Washed dishes in Scotland, England, New Zealand, Australia and Austria...actually enjoyed it.

*During my journalism career I was a celebrity judge at a dog barking contest...I took it very seriously.

*Went to a sled dog race in Northern Minnesota...thought I would die from the cold...was warmer in bloody Antarctica.

*Rode a Greyhound bus around America alone...again, probably not smart but was a heck of a ride.

*Ate a Beaver tail in Canada....not what you think.

*Paid my respects at Dealey Plaza...and at Southfork Ranch.

*Played one pool game against Eddie Charlton (World Champion snooker and billiards player) I lost, but only by two shots. He died the following year.

Big Dreams..

April 22nd, 2014

Big Dreams..

When I was a kid I thought travelling the world with my camera would be a glamorous existence filled with exotic places and exciting adventures. I thought rare wildlife would miraculously appear and pose for that perfect photo at just the right time.
However when I could finally afford to do it, the reality was often painfully different but at the same time, so much better than the dream.
In my dreams the wildlife had their own communal bathrooms. But in reality I have rolled in, stepped in, knelt in, crawled in, slid on and fell into so many animal droppings that I can proudly say "watch out for the elephant pooh in five different languages.
I did not dream of second-degree sunburn, debilitating sea-sickness, pick-pockets, spider bites, cranky hippos, starving animals, suicidal African drivers, dubious street food, beggars, proposals of marriage, jittery cell phone coverage and cold showers.
And the truth is...the wildlife appear in their own sweet time. They don't care if you have come thousands of miles to sit in a bush for a week waiting for them and they couldn't care less about your schedule or your budget or your 200 mosquito bites.
When and if they do appear, it's always with a look of total indifference and if they could speak they would say...What?!?
Surviving all the challenges and coming out the other end in one piece with a couple of decent photographs is a great day for me.
Being followed around by a small posse of school kids because they have have never seen a white girl before or sitting next to a couple on an Indian train hoping to find work hundreds of miles from their family, or the very average looking Skua who saw his own reflection in my camera lens and was astounded at his own handsomeness are the things I really dream of.

ANZAC Day

April 17th, 2014

ANZAC Day

Every New Zealand town or city has one - a modest memorial somewhere in the middle of town, dedicated to our war-time soldiers who did not return and on ANZAC day honored by those who did.
Anzac Day ,April 25, marks the anniversary of the first campaign that led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) is one of the most important national holidays for both Australia and New Zealand, a rare instance of two sovereign countries not only share the same remembrance day, but making reference to both countries in its name.
In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied Expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. A plan by Winston Churchill to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies.
ANZAC forces landed at Gallipoli on April 25 meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Army and what had been planned as a bold strike to knock the Ottomans out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. The Allied casualties included 21,255 from the United Kingdom, an estimated 10,000 dead French soldiers, 8,709 from Australia, and 2,721 from New Zealand. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and April 25 became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war. The meaning of the day has been further broadened to include those killed in all the military operations in which New Zealand and Australia have since been involved.
As a journalist I went to about 50 ANZAC services over the years. Services would include a bag-pipe led parade of veterans that were still mobile, a wreath laying ceremony, prayers and speeches. Some big-city services would begin a dawn, around 6am, but for the most part they were held in small rural towns, many with populations barely over 60 people. A district of five or six towns would stagger their services throughout the morning so they could share a minister, a trumpet player, the chairman of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association (RSA), (the New Zealand version of the Veterans Administration)
and the media. I have fond memories of the trumpet player, the RSA Chairman and the minister sharing a car and totally thrashing the speed limit in order to stay on schedule, with me or one of my colleagues in hot pursuit. If they were running late a police escort was not unheard of.
When the services were over most of the town would head to the RSA Club for whiskey and/or a cup of tea and a cooked breakfast.
Many New Zealanders and Australians make the pilgrimage to Turkey and Gallipoli Beach were a dawn service is also held. Thousands spend the night wrapped in sleeping bags on Gallipoli Beach to wait for the sun to rise and services to begin.

 

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