ONE hundred years after the armistice was signed, the community stopped to remember our men, women and animals who served, or are serving in conflict.
A large crowd gathered at the Carillon, in Kings Parade, which was draped in hand knitted poppies, while the garden beds were marked with crosses that named the conflicts Australians have fought in.
In addition to the red poppies adorning the Carillon, this year, purple poppies were placed alongside them honouring animals who had lost their lives.
The poppies were sewn on hand-made dog collars which dogs in the Defense Community Dogs program wore to the service. The collars were then placed on the wreaths as they were laid at the Carillon.
Kylie Fogarty, overseer of the Defense Community Dogs program, which pairs former rescue dogs, who are trained by inmates to assist people with post-traumatic stress disorder, with Defense Force veterans, said it was a very special event.
“The purple poppy represents animals in combat, and the poppies were sewn onto a beautiful collar.
“As the wreaths were laid, the inmate handlers took the collars from the dogs and laid them alongside the wreath.
“It was very moving.”
Ms Fogarty said the idea to involve the dogs was the brainchild of David Mills and his wife Beverley.
“It was so significant and very heartfelt,” she said.
Ms Fogarty said a former veteran, who received a Defense Community Dog earlier this year, travelled to Bathurst with his dog Lola to lay a wreath.
“So many people came over to us afterwards and said how moved they were,” she said.
“The dogs,and their handlers did us proud,” she said.
Ms Fogarty said over 480,000 horses fell in World War One, and another 2.5 million were injured in battle. Even today, she said animals, in particular dogs, trained to locate explosives, play a role in our security.
“And the bond [between the animal and their handler] is incredible, to lose that animal would be devastating,” she said.