Preparing for the Anzac service, Gallipoli 2011

By Josephine Sargent 7 November 2013
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It takes almost an army of volunteers to help set up for the Gallipoli service in Turkey each year.

AG subeditor Josephine Sargent is in Turkey with Conservation Volunteers Australia for Anzac Day.

UNDER A GLORIOUS TURKISH sun, a group of Conservation Volunteers Australia workers gathered on the deck of the ferry to drink tea and chat and share stories from home. We were headed across to the Dardenelles, to meet with the Department of Veteran Affairs, to smooth out last-minute preparations for the upcoming dawn service at Gallipoli.
It was then, with a stomach-flipping realisation, that it dawned on me that I, along with 24 others from our group, would be working for at least 24 hours straight to help ensure the dawn service, paid for by Australians and hosted by Turks, would be a successful and enjoyable commemoration for the Aussies, Kiwis and Turks who had made the effort to sit through the sub-zero temperatures and long, boring hours to pay tribute to the fallen.
As a Conservation Volunteers Australia worker, I will be wristbanding and greeting visitors, handing out information packs with a smile and assisting people with special needs to their allocated seating. Our shift begins at noon on 25 April and ends at about the same time on 26 April, after the conclusion of the dawn service at Lone Pine.

Allied troops at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli Peninsula, during the Gallipoli campaign, 1915. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

So, I asked for advice from those who are familiar with sleep deprivation. No, no, not new mothers. Those with a military background in our tour group. “Guys,” I pleaded. “I’ve never been awake for 24 hours straight in my life. Tips, please!” Wayne, whose last name, Jellatt means “executioner” in Turkish, offered this advice: “Poke one eye. Then, when you can’t feel it any more, poke the other.” “Funny,” was my dry reply, “but unhelpful.” It was police officer Paul who came through with the goods: “Coffee. And lots of it. Keep busy and the time will fly. Oh, and don’t look at your watch.”
So, with thermals at the ready, along with windproof pants and a waterproof jacket, me and the Conservation Volunteers Australia team are ready to take on the gargantuan task of helping to host the dawn service here at Gallipoli.

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