On Anzac Day Eve families are invited to get a safe glimpse of what young service men and women working in war zones experienced at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for the 2016 Symbolic Sleep Out.
The event will raise funds for Soldier On, supporting Australian service men and women who have been wounded physically or psychologically in contemporary conflicts post 1990.
Singer Normie Rowe AM, a Vietnam veteran and ambassador for Soldier On since its inception, will emcee the camp out.
Mr Rowe said he could only imagine the stresses experienced by the young who served in places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Timor, but as a returned Vietnam veteran, could empathise with those who returned to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“I deal with PTSD every day,’’ said Mr Rowe. “I say deal, not suffer, because there are strategies and they can be employed when you feel things getting on top of you. I’d never call it fun, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.’’
Mr Rowe said Symbolic Sleep Out participants would sleep out at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, be woken well before dawn by a drill sergeant and transported to join the 30,000 expected to attend this year’s Anzac Day Dawn Service by Elephant Rock, Currumbin.
“We’re going to wake you early and take you to a dawn service at Currumbin to remember those who were prepared to put their lives on the line for their country.’’
Retired Brigadier Rod West will host a Q&A with returned serviceman Matt Jones and Sarah Watson, who served tours respectively in Afghanistan and Iraq, about the effects of service on the young and the importance of Soldier On and community support.
The pair were part of a team of returned servicemen and women who joined last year’s Ride For Life through the Italian alps to raise awareness for Soldier On, joined by Australia cyclist Cadel Evans and comic Hamish Blake.
The 2016 Symbolic Sleep Out, hosted by Currumbin RSL and The National Trust’s Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, will be held on Sunday, 24 April, ahead of Anzac Day on 25 April.
Tickets starting at $75 for adults and $30 for children will give participants access to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary from Sunday, April 24, from 2pm with upgrades available to include food. Ticket holders will receive a guided walk to this year’s Currumbin RSL dawn service at Elephant Rock, where annually crowds gather from 3am to attend the ANZAC Day Dawn Service on Currumbin Beach.
The first Symbolic Sleep Out was held in 2015 and was a completely sold out event. With only 600 tickets available for the 2016 Symbolic Sleep Out, guests are encouraged to book now to avoid disappointment.
Currumbin RSL’s Anzac Day Dawn Service is an iconic Queensland event. Held at Elephant Rock on the Gold Coast, Currumbin RSL organise, fund and run one of the largest regional ANZAC Day dawn services in Australia, year after year attracting tens of thousands of Australians.
Currumbin RSL CEO Anne Stovin explains, “We wanted to give the Gold Coast community the opportunity to commemorate the centenary of ANZAC Day in different ways. By including the Symbolic Sleep Out on the eve of ANZAC DAY, we hope to really connect with this moment in history and get a glimpse into the sacrifices made on behalf of the free we appreciate today”.
“ANZAC Day, for us is not simply about remembering WW1 and that one fateful day on the shores at Gallipoli. It is also about honouring all our ANZACs past and present”.
PROGRAM FOR CURRUMBIN RSL’S SYMBOLIC SLEEP OUT:
Sunday 24 April 2016
2pm – 5pm Access to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
5pm – 8pm Food and Beverage available from the Village Green
5pm – 6pm Get up close and personal with the Koalas
6.30pm Blinky Bill appearance
7.15pm Night tours of the sanctuary commence
8pm – 9pm Formal part of the evening including short documentary, discussions with modern day veterans and entertainment for children
9pm – 11pm Outdoor Cinema to commence in the Lorikeet Arena featuring the film ‘Gallipoli’
11.30pm Lights out
Saturday 25 April 2015
5am Currumbin RSL’s Dawn Service commences at Elephant Rock
Tickets to the Symbolic Sleep Out also include a designated car park at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
For full details and tickets visit http://australiaremembers.com.au/events-exhibitions/symbolic-sleep-out/