- ANZAC DAY 1998
April 1998, the Melbourne Tramways Band traveled to Thailand to take part in
Anzac commemoration services relating to the infamous Thai-Burma Death
Railway and in particular the opening of the Hellfire Pass Memorial, funded
by the Commonwealth Government.
band paid its own way to get there and was privileged to represent Australia and
do its best to acknowledge the suffering and sacrifice of so many allied
servicemen in the construction of the rail link to Burma during World War 11.
Both the brass and stage bands undertook the trip with the initial performances involving the entertainment of the pilgrimage groups from Australia, including many former POW’s and their families.
Later in the tour the band had the honour of playing for the opening of the new memorial at Hellfire Pass on 24 April, the Dawn Service in Hellfire Pass on Anzac Day and the major Anzac Commemorative Service at the Commonwealth War Graves at Kanchanaburi, later in the morning. Preceding these services, the band had also played for the official reception for the Prime Minister, John Howard.
Both the Prime Minister and the Minister For Veterans’ Affairs, Bruce Scott, commented extremely favourably (and repeatedly) on the Bands participation and its high standard of performance. Like the other hundreds of Australians participating in these events, they were pleased and proud to have the Melbourne Tramways Band in attendance.