'‘… and in the morning …’: adapting and adopting the dawn service'
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This article examines the structural malleability of the dawn service and the appeal it subsequently has for adaptation – or appropriation – by interests with a need to express, validate or perhaps procure its strong appeal to popular nationalism. A brief account of the history and mythology of the dawn service is given to indicate its origins and development as the element of Anzac Day with the most consistently popular appeal. A morphology of the ritual structure of the event is provided, with illustrative examples from Western Australia, Queensland and Canberra to show the broad variety of format that the morphology allows, while still retaining what large numbers of Australians apparently consider its integral national significance. Two recent instances of adaptation of the dawn service to ostensibly non-Anzac observances for the Bali bombings and Australia Day are then discussed to illustrate the appeal of the morphology to both official and community interests. The article concludes by arguing that the morphological elements of the dawn service can be adapted into a diversity of ritual frameworks that reflect and reinforce the different but, in this case, intersecting imperatives of government and communities.
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