Ballarat man selected in ballot to attend Gallipoli centenary

ROBERT Davenport and wife Carol will take the trip of a lifetime next year when they venture to Anzac Cove at Gallipoli to mark the 100th anniversary of Australia’s involvement in World War I. 

Mr Davenport, a returned serviceman from Ballarat, was one of 3800 Australians selected in a national ballot to attend the dawn service. 

With more than 42,000 applicants, Mr Davenport said the occasion would be monumental. 

“My father, whom I never had the chance to meet, served for this country in both World War I and World War II,” he said last week after being notified of his success. 

“I have always dreamed of going to Gallipoli for Anzac Day ... it will be a very emotional moment.”

The Australian and New Zealand governments initiated the ballot process after the Turkish government announced last year that it had capped attendance at 10,500 people.

“It really is ironic that the only two ballots I have ever been successful in are this and conscription,” Mr Davenport said with a laugh. 

“I feel lucky to have been accepted and it will be an incredible experience next year.”

Senator Michael Ronaldson said the centenary at Gallipoli would be a big occasion, adding that those without places could get involved elsewhere. 

“Those without tickets for Anzac Day 2015 may consider visiting Gallipoli on August 6, 2015, for the Battle of Lone Pine centenary commemoration service,” he said.

“Australians may also consider attending another dawn service in Australia or overseas or watching the television broadcast of the Gallipoli and Villers-Bretonneux services on the ABC.

“Another option is to visit Gallipoli at another time during the centenary year.”

Those who have not received a ticket in the ballot, but have elected to be on the waiting list, will be notified of any tickets that may become available up until March 31, 2015.