GALLERY: Kellyville Anzac Day dawn service

A RECORD crowd of 13,000 people gathered at the Centenary of Anzac Reserve at Kellyville this morning to remember the fallen.

That crowd figure is not a typo.

A smiling Hills police local area commander Superintendent Rob Critchlow confirmed the big turnout shortly after the service ended.

An incredulous Castle Hill RSL sub-Branch president Don Tait said he had the community to thank.

‘‘I have to say thank you to the community of The Hills for coming in these large numbers; this was fantastic,’’ he said.

Before the ceremony, he’d told the News he was hopeful of breaking the 10,000-mark this Anzac Day after getting very close in 2013.

Superintendent Critchlow said even with the swell in numbers, morning traffic moved smoothly (many  will remember the bank-up of cars on Wrights Road last year).

He said while there were some delays leaving the Wrights Road reserve after the ceremony, drivers were patient.

But he’s not resting on his laurels.

Like Mr Tait, he expects even bigger numbers at Anzac Day 2015 — the 100th anniversary of  the landing at Gallipoli.

‘‘The planning starts Monday,’’ Superintendent Critchlow said.

Mr Tait said: ‘‘The things we tried today for the Centenary of Anzac worked brilliantly.’’

On that list were a big screen TV streaming live from the event, a coffee cart, new traffic management plan, and having both the New Zealand and Australian national anthems sung at the ceremony. Both countries’ flags were also displayed.

‘‘We should remember our close allies. We’ll do it from now on,’’ Mr Tait said.

Recent Afghanistan veteran, Jim Terrie — who gave the dawn service address —  said he was especially impressed with the number of children in attendance.

Mr Tait said the only disappointment was that more people didn’t use the free buses the Sub-branch had organised to shuttle people from Castle Hill Showground to and from the Greens Road bus-stop at Centenary of Anzac Reserve.

■ Attendees are invited back to Castle Hill RSL for a free breakfast (present this morning’s dawn service program as proof you were there).

■ Traditional Anzac Day two-up games start from noon in the club’s Lyceum. Two rings will be run in conjunction ($10 and under and $10 and over), with all proceeds going towards the Kokoda Youth Leadership Challenge.

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