Australia Wide ANZACS

Our veteran residents from all around the country share their reflections on ANZAC day as we commemorate their years of service.

The 25th of April marks one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It’s a day to pay tribute to the men and women who died for our country and to bow our heads in respect of the sacrifices our veterans have made. We feel so lucky to have many war veterans as residents in Lendlease Villages all around the country and thank them for sharing their stories and precious memories with us.


Bill Mackay - Pittwater Village, NSW
As a determined 16-year-old, Bill was resolute in his desire to serve his country, Scotland and fight in the Second World War.  He lied about his age and was accepted into the army, joining The Royal Scots and eventually moving to the Parachute Regiment for six years.   

Bill describes ANZAC Day as a memory march, not a victory march.  “The only way we can prevent war is by educating everybody on the effect of war and doing all we can to prevent it. Education is the key,” he said. This year, Bill spent the day as a special guest at North Narrabeen Public School’s ANZAC Day service as he has done for the last 16 years.


Douglas Bain - Viewbank Gardens, VIC
An avid flight enthusiast, Douglas served in the air force during the Second World War. During the service in the village this year, Douglas shared a touching story discussing the principles and origin of flight, pre-dating the Wright brothers. “During the war, there was a lot of hoping that your navigator was right. You were flying over the sea for hours on end, and these islands were really tiny, so you just had to hope it was right. After the war, I started flying smaller aeroplanes, and I’m glad to say I had much more time in those than flying war type aeroplanes,” he said.


Miles Farmer - The Terraces, QLD
A resident of The Terraces village for the last 9 years, Miles’ military service began in 1950. From his time in the army reserve squadron in Brisbane in the early fifties, Miles then graduated Duntroon in 1955 before serving in Vietnam in 1959 and commanding the second 14th Queensland mounted infantry from 1973-1976. After Vietnam, Miles began working within disability services and formed McIntyre Centre Riding for Disabled. His work with disabled children and horses earned him an Order of Australia Medal. “It was a wonderful experience working with horses and all of the children we helped to ride them who couldn’t otherwise walk,” he said. “My first ANZAC day memory was as a small boy. We lived in the country and we’d come into Brisbane city and I’d watch my father march with his old battalion of WWI soldiers,” said Miles. This ANZAC day, Miles attended three different services in Corinda, Sherwood and Indooroopilly.


Donald Collis - Henry Kendall Gardens, NSW
Don recently celebrated his 94th birthday with a pre-ANZAC Day service in the village, and attended another service on the 25th. From 1941-1946, Don served in the merchant navy, shipping supplies to the army during the Second World War. “I can’t say I’ve sailed the seven seas, but I’ve definitely sailed six of them,” he said. This year, Don plans to reflect on not just those who lost their lives in the first two World Wars, but all the subsequent wars since and the soldiers that are still in active duty. “ANZAC day to me is just reflecting on all the poor soldiers who lost their lives during all of the wars and commemorating them,” he said.


Bob Rankin - Tannoch Brae, VIC
From 1943 to 1946, Bob Rankin served as an anti-aircraft gunner in the Second World War. At 93 years old, Bob now spends ANZAC day watching the service on television. This year, he focused his reflection on Kokoda and the tragic loss of life suffered there. During the village service held on the 23rd of April, Bob read the ode as he has done every year for the last four years since moving into the village. “I always remember the old days in the army for myself. It’s about the loss that we suffered and respect we can show to those who have died,” he said.


Ken Keen, Lutanda Manor, NSW
This year, 92 year old Ken Keen supported his grandson on ANZAC day. As a commander in the army reserve, Ken’s grandson marched in a dawn service, and Ken was right there in the audience supporting him. “Each ANZAC Day service I’ve been to has something special about it,” he said. Ken served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the army in Vietnam in 1948 and since then has participated in and helped to coordinate 29 different ANZAC Day services. “On ANZAC Day I like to go and see mates I used to serve with who are still alive and just have a chat. We just have a talk about life and family and just tell stories,” he said.