Michelle Thompson was drawn to volunteering with Fort Scratchley Historical Society because of a personal connection with the site.
Her grandfather, Lieutenant Colonel R.S. Mort, had been involved in the restoration of the former defence installation in the 1970s.
Decades earlier, he had been stationed at Stockton's Fort Wallace the night Newcastle was attacked by a Japanese submarine on June 8, 1942, when Fort Scratchley's guns returned fire at the sub.
"History will be forgotten if we don't get new people in and interested," Ms Thompson said of the society.
Watch the 2019 Newcastle dawn service at Nobbys Beach
"The history they have up there, some of the artifacts. They said we need some help and I thought well, my grandfather started this I don't want to see it let go."
Ms Thompson, who became a volunteer last August, has led the design of a commemorative ANZAC Day display.
With the help of other volunteers, she has adorned Fort Scratchley with more than 5000 knitted poppies.
The display is a continuation of last year's Remembrance Day tribute.
"It's a perpetual memorial," Ms Thompson said on Wednesday after making the final touches to the display.
"We'll put them [poppies] out every year. They were donations from all over Australia. It just went viral when it went on social media, the requests last year."
An observation post is draped in poppies and has crosses placed in front of it with the names of battle locations service personnel from Newcastle served at.
"We've done it differently from what we did for Remembrance Day," Ms Thompson said.
"We've draped the poppies from the observation post, so when the people are at Nobby's beach for the dawn service and the light comes, they can look up and see those poppies. And those poppies represent lives that were sacrificed."
Ms Thompson said a special dedication with purple poppies remembers animals lost in war.
"We also did the purple poppies, which represent the animals that died during World War I," she said.
"The horses, the mules, the donkeys, the dogs, the pigeons."
Fort Scratchley will be open to the public from noon. The Fort Scratchley Historical Society will hold two rounds of gun firing at 1pm and 4pm, following the dawn service firing.
Meanwhile, The Royal Australian Air Force will conduct a number of flypasts in the Hunter, including at Bolton Point (10.18am), Rathmines (10.19am), Belmont (10.20am), Cessnock (10.25am), Kurri Kurri (10.26am), East Maitland (10.27am), Wangi Wangi (10.30am), Swansea (10.36am), Stroud (10.38am), Karuah (10.54am), Raymond Terrarce (11am) and Toronto (11.10am).