Dawn on ANZAC day 2013. Albany was chosen as the rendezvous in 1914 for the troop convoy because it was an important coaling and watering port and the convoy left Albany for Egypt, where the troops would train before being landed at Gallipoli to fight the Turks.
For the thousands of Australian soldiers who died at Gallipolli, this was their last chance to walk on Australian soil.
The first Dawn Service Albany has another strong Anzac connection in that it was where the first dawn service was held. In 1918 a young Anglican chaplain, Padre Arthur Ernest White, who served as chaplain with the 44th Battalion AIF, celebrated a Requiem Mass for the Battle Dead at the alter of St. John’s, Albany.
After the service he and some members of the congregation climbed to the summit of Mount Clarence. It was from this viewpoint that the people of Albany had gathered in 1914 to look at the great convoy of ships that had gathered in the Sound to carry the men to Egypt.
As Padre White looked over Princess Royal Harbour, he is reported to have said 'Albany was the last sight of land our troops saw of Australia. Perhaps we should commemorate them this way every Anzac Day.'
In 1929, Padre White was appointed Rector of Albany and decided to mark the next Anzac Day by celebrating a Dawn Eucharist. On April 25th, 1930, some parishioners who attended this 6 am service then accompanied their rector to the nearby war memorial, where he placed a wreath on behalf of the parish.
They then followed him up Mt Clarence to wait for a boatman to lay a wreath in the water at the entrance of the harbour where it would drift out into King George Sound. As it was laid, Padre White said these words, 'As the sun riseth and goeth down, we will remember them'.
When he entered the details in the church service register, he wrote, 'First Dawn Service held in Australia.'