Major-General Brian 'Hori' Howard [retired] is expecting Austinmer to record its biggest Anzac Day service ever this year.
He said like himself many in the community were impressed with the extensive refurbishment of Austinmer's War Memorial.
"The community has inspected the work daily and they like what they see," Mr Howard said.
"Last year we had upwards of 2000 people here. We expect more this year because everybody has had a look at this and said they will be definitely attending the dawn service."
The Austinmer-Thirroul RSL sub-branch worked hand in hand with Wollongong City Council to come up with a new design for the dilapidated Austinmer Beach War Memorial.
"The main thing we wanted was to turn the area into a precinct, which as you can see, has been done," Mr Howard said.
"It has a designated pathway now and everyone knows what it is and it is a really outstanding result for everybody.
"Previously people were camping on it or close to it, not in any disrespectful way but in ignorance. That won't happen anymore as it is clear to see that it is a war memorial."
The work included a new level paved area for ceremonies and the construction of an accessible pathway between Lawrence Hargrave Drive and the memorial.
"People participating in Austinmer's dawn service next Thursday will see a marked difference in this special space," Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.
The uneven and aged pavers and concrete path are gone and there is a new granite-clad low memorial wall that really emphasises the significance of the site.
"We know our community respects the sacrifice those who have fought for our country have made and we see this in the growing numbers who attend Anzac Day services across our city each year," Cr Bradbery said.
He praised council's staff on the ground and behind-the-scenes in developing the design and the landscaping.
"Especially with the challenge of working around to protect the heritage trees and ensure there was an equal access pathway. This is a much-improved space for our community," he said.
Mr Howard also praised council's architect and workers for their efforts.
"We asked for a precinct and they've exceeded expectations. They are a credit to the council to be quite honest," he said.
The Austinmer dawn service is one of a number of services being held on April 25 across the city.
Mr Howard was especially looking forward to the Austinmer service.
"We've increased our sound system so people further away will be able to hear it. We have a TV screen on the wall of the surf club so people down near the ocean side of the park will be able to see what's going on," he said.
"Of course the big advantage is as the sun comes up over the ocean we have a piper play lament. If that doesn't get you, nothing will."