Explosive start to Anzac Day

ANZAC Day got off to a fiery start yesterday when a man paying his respects at the Botanic Gardens lost his motorbike in a spectacular blaze.

Gardens staff and the bike's owner rushed to control the blaze, but the vintage motorcycle was all but destroyed.

The fire began less than an hour after hundreds of Rockhampton residents flocked to the gardens for the dawn service and hours before thousands crowded into the CBD for the Anzac Day march.

Witness Joan Purdie, who captured the fire on her digital camera, was enjoying a cup of coffee with friends after the dawn service when she noticed the blaze.

"We were just standing there and we saw what we thought was a rubbish bin on fire but then it turned out to be a bike,'' Ms Purdie said.

"It burnt a little at first and then it went up.''

Ms Purdie said the middleaged owner of the bike, who could not be contacted yesterday, told her he had spent thousands of dollars and about two years restoring the bike.

"He was devastated, mainly because he had put all this work into restoring it.''

A spokesman for Queensland Fire and Rescue, who arrived on scene after gardens staff successfully put out the fire said it was unknown what caused the blaze.

Meanwhile, Anzac celebrations continued across the city and the region with thousands turning out to various events.

Hundreds of school children joined veterans of numerous conflicts in the traditional Anzac Day march from Archer Street to Riverside Park in Rockhampton.

Countless spectators, ranging from small children to the elderly lined the route of the march from start to finish.

Many of them showed their support by waving Australian flags while others clapped respectively as various sections passed.

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