Federation Guard prepares for Anzac Day

This article has photo gallery Published on CAPT Chris Rickey (author), CPL Steve Duncan (photographer)

Australia’s Federation Guardsmen Able Seaman Georgia Chaffey (left), and Leading Aircraftman Nathan Slater sling their rifles for use in a Catafalque Party practice ceremony at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. (photo: CPL Steve Duncan)
Australia’s Federation Guardsmen Able Seaman Georgia Chaffey (left), and Leading Aircraftman Nathan Slater sling their rifles for use in a Catafalque Party practice ceremony at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.

The compound which is home to Australia’s Federation Guard in Canberra is, on any given day, a hive of activity, but in the days preceding the Centenary of Anzac, to say the guard has picked up the pace would be an understatement.

Four separate contingents of personnel are in the final stages of training, planning and preparation before their departure to support Anzac ceremonies in Turkey, France, Belgium and Timor-Leste.

Despite the high tempo, the additional work is being embraced with enthusiasm according to Officer Commanding Australia's Federation Guard, Major François Nozaic.

Australia’s Federation Guardsmen, Able Seaman (AB) Phoebe Evans (foreground) and AB Jake Hiep, mark time during a Catafalque Party ceremonial rehearsal at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.

Australia’s Federation Guardsmen, Able Seaman (AB) Phoebe Evans (foreground) and AB Jake Hiep, mark time during a Catafalque Party ceremonial rehearsal at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.

“The Guard is the only dedicated unit responsible for ceremonial support in the Australian Defence Force so with that mission comes a great responsibility; to honour both the legacy of those who went before us as well as the customs and traditions of the entire Australian Defence Force,” he said.

“The men and women of the unit are more than ready for the Centenary of Anzac. They have spent weeks mentally and physically preparing themselves for what will be a very demanding task but they are extremely eager, keen and motivated.”

For Guardsman Able Seaman Georgia Chaffey, the constant drill has provided her team with a point of focus, which is helping eliminate some of the nerves associated with supporting what is destined to be a highlight of her posting.

“The more we train the more confident we become and that means the less nervous we will be at the main events on April 25,” Able Seaman Chaffey said.

“My team is pretty confident. It has been through a really busy period at the Guard but we are all very excited. 

“I’m really proud to be representing the nation and the Australian Defence Force.

“I went last year to France, and it means a lot to be selected again, especially because I have family who fought on the Western Front in the First World War.”

The main effort for each of the contingents while overseas will be the mounting of the catafalque and flag parties, both drills requiring perfect timing and precision.

“We have force concentrated each of the contingents so all of their training has been with each other. This is about not just knowing what to do as an individual but also understanding how the team moves as one body,” Major Nozaic said.

“The end result will be world-class drill and ceremonial support for this very important and solemn occasion.”