A procession of about 80 historic military vehicles, considered one of the largest assembled in Australia, filed through the streets of Wangi Wangi on Thursday morning before the Anzac Day service at the local RSL.
Thousands gathered by the roadside for the march and then clambered around the front of the RSL for the service.
A baking head-on sun faced the crowd and made for a long ceremony, but few drifted from the area as the service ran through.
About 70 members of the Royal Australian Air Force's No. 1 Security Forces Squadron Williamtown branch continued their annual attendance at the service.
Wing Commander Chris Hatch opened his speech by reflecting on the region's lost service personnel in years gone by, before talking of the challenges faced by those who return from war.
"For many, the physical and psychological impact of the war will have an enduring effect on your life," he said.
"The character of the war may change to the Australian spirit that was in the second world war ... however the emotions experienced by the soldiers in returning home are most likely going to be similar.
"Some of the excitement of coming home has been overshadowed by depression, anxiety and other mental illness."
Commander Hatch reiterated the importance of organisations like the RSL and Legacy, and modern equivalents like Soldier On Australia and Mates4Mates.
When the wreaths were layed, four young girls of the Hines family continued their family's tradition by donating books to the local school.
The memorial is named after their great grandfather, Peter Hines, who died in Vietnam aged 27. He is considered the only serviceman from the area killed in action.
Another young boy, five-year-old Cameron Kenworthy, wore the medals of his great grandfather, Raymond Barnes, for the first time.
Mr Barnes, 99, moved into an aged-care home two weeks ago and was unable to attend this year's service.
"He was an anti-aircraft signaller," Mr Barnes' daughter Nicola Kenworthy, 64, of Fishing Point, said.
"He was in the Pacific, Middle East, New Guinea. World War II, the whole six years."
After the service, majority of the crowd shifted either into the RSL or down to the waterfront, where the military vehicles were parked and an ex-army helicopter was due to arrive.
Ryhope's Alan Turner spent hours upon hours over the past year maintaining some of the vehicles, of which about half are the private collection of Tracy Vagnal, who is Mr Turner's neighbour.
"For the combined people that are now coming to Wangi to witness this, it's one of the biggest military vehicle parades in Australia - and the most diverse," he said.
"The trouble that we have to keep these vehicles going, they're 80 year old.
"You've got brake problems, clutch problems, radiators... everything is just old and keeps breaking down.
"I spent about the last seven or eight months doing up the Stuart Tank, which led the parade today.
"It was a major exercise, but there it is there - we got it going."