24 April, 2024

Playing tribute tradition

D’Aguilar resident Shane Bielski has unintentionally started a new ANZAC tradition, playing his guitar at 6am to honour the fallen servicemen and women for the fourth consecutive year.

Playing tribute tradition - feature photo

Starting in 2020 during the COVID lockdowns and when everything was cancelled, Shane was talking to his wife, thinking of ways to still celebrate ANZAC Day.

They came up with the idea of Shane, an avid musician, playing his guitar at 5am, creating a version of a dawn service.

He posted on a Facebook community page, asking residents what they thought of the idea and if they would be alright with the noise early morning, receiving an overwhelming response of support.

He repeated the survey the following year, again met with encouragement.

This has now become an annual tradition, with roughly 200 people commenting on his permission post, saying they want him to play.

“People have told me now that they will be disappointed if I don’t do it and that I’m not allowed to move anywhere”, he joked.

Since Dawn Service has returned at 5am, Shane now starts playing at 6am, as not to interfere with the service.

“This is my way of contributing to the community one day a year, being able to pay respect to all who have fought”, he said.

Shane’s father and uncle, who are now both deceased, both fought in World War II.

For him, playing at 6am is his way of paying respect to them, along with “anybody else who fought”.

Originally from New Zealand, Shane and his family moved to D’Aguilar ten years ago, due to the cost of living there making it too hard for them to stay.

“New Zealanders and Aussies fight alongside so often, they’re brothers in arms, so it’s just as significant for me to play here”, he said.

Shane said many elderly people have also expressed their gratitude for his performance, as they aren’t mobile enough to make it to the Dawn Service.

“There are a few people who walk or drive down from the service or their houses, but most just stand outside on their driveways and listen, with a crowd of 20 or 30 gathering across the road.”

Given how loud he plays, many are able to enjoy the tribute from their homes, as the music ranges 30km from the house, which he decorates in honour of ANZAC Day.

“Thank you so much to the community for supporting me and allowing me to keep going”, he said.

You can catch Shane at 6am and 6pm on ANZAC Day, playing “The Last Post” and an acoustic rendition of “Only 19”, at 55 Taminga Court.


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