Centenary of ANZAC Address - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

Centenary of ANZAC Address

It was an honour to give the ANZAC Day address on the Centenary of ANZAC at the Bulimba ceremony.

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, and I pay my respects to their elders past and present. Today I also pay my respects to the young indigenous men - around a thousand of them - who fought for the Commonwealth in the First World War.

I acknowledge

  • Commander Peter Tedman, DSM OAM, Commanding Officer, Naval Headquarters, South Queensland
  • Ms Di Farmer MP, Member for Bulimba
  • Cr Shayne Sutton, Morningside ward Councillor
  • Mr Brian Laing, President of the Cannon Hill District and Vietnam Services RSL Sub-branch
  • the Queensland Detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band, led by Bandmaster Camille Martin.
  • All serving and former members of the armed forces.

I am honoured to give the ANZAC Day address here in Bulimba on the Centenary of ANZAC.

On ANZAC Day we stop to remember sacrifice. It’s a day on which we mark the “loyalty, faith, courage, skill and ` endurance”[1] of those who have served, and those who continue to serve. And it’s a day to recall the terrible lessons of war and the pressing imperative for peace and security.

One hundred years ago, on this day, more than 20,000 Australians and New Zealanders went ashore at the Gallipoli Peninsula.

The four ` infantry battalions of the 3rd Brigade, First Australian Division, made the ` dawn ` landing.

More than 620 Australians died on that first day of what became an eight-month battle.

205 brave local men landed, at Anzac Cove, that day.

131 from South Brisbane.  Seventeen from Bulimba.  Fifteen from Kangaroo Point. Eleven from East Brisbane. Eleven from Woolloongabba. Nine from Coorparoo, seven from West End, ` two from Morningside and one each from Hawthorne and Norman Park.

In Queensland, 57,000 young men signed up to serve in the “war to end all wars”.

Two out of every three who served died or were wounded.

At the time, Australia was a country of barely five million people. In the First World War, nearly 400,000 wore the uniform. 152,000 were wounded. 62,000 died.

The men who went to Gallipoli gave themselves for the sake of others.

In the hundred years since, many more locals have joined the Australian Defence Force, and in doing so they have followed the ANZACs’ example.

So many Australians have given their lives in our nation’s defence.

Their names are inscribed in local war memorials and Honour Boards in every community across the country.

The trees that surround us here in Bulimba were planted in their honour.

Today, as we do every year, we gather together as a community to honour their sacrifice.

We remember those who were lost. And we think of those who returned, but were never the same because of their injuries, and what they had endured.

And as I said, in doing so, we remember how ardently we desire peace – to borrow an expression from a former Australian governor-general, Sir Isaac Isaacs.

Remembering war stokes our desire for peace because in remembering men and women’s sacrifice we necessarily remember death, horror, pain, and suffering.

War shatters families: but not only families. Every loss leaves a hole in the community. And every war injury carries consequences not just for those injured but for the communities to which they return.

George Harry Storey was a clerk who lived on Bulimba Street.

He was just 19 when he left for Gallipoli where he arrived as part of the 5th Light Horse on 16 May 1915.

Twelve days later he was in the hospital with a gunshot wound ` to the head.

Amazingly, George re-joined his unit, only to be back in hospital by Christmas with frostbite.

He was admitted to hospital three more times before returning to Australia, and being medically discharged just three years following his enlistment.

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his valour. He served in Gallipoli, Egypt and Palestine. 

He died as a result of his war service at just 34 years of age.

He is buried in the Balmoral Cemetery.

George had  ^ enlisted just 12 days after his older brother, Fredrick.

Fredrick was killed at Gallipoli on 8 August 1915.

It is hard to imagine this Bulimba family’s grief in receiving the news ` that their son had been killed. Or their worry for their younger son.

When the congregation met each Sunday, at the church on this street, people would have asked Thomas and Martha if they had heard any news of their sons.

And the community would have rallied around the Storey family at the news of Fredrick’s death.

A plaque was erected on the pulpit of St John’s, in honour of his sacrifice.

On ANZAC Day we mourn with the Storey family.

We mourn with the families and the communities of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

We mourn for the lives lost, and for what could have been, if not for war.

And, on ANZAC Day, we also give thanks for those who’ve returned, and those who still serve.

Like those veterans who are with us today.

The men and women who march today, here and around the country.

When Isaac Isaacs observed, in 1937, our nation’s ardent desire for peace, he also spoke of what’s needed. Clear vision, a resolute heart, and a strong arm.  That is true today. And that’s why we owe everyone who has served, and everyone who continues to serve, a debt that cannot be paid. They serve so that our nation’s ardent desire for peace, and security, has a chance of being fulfilled.

So, though we can’t repay the debt we owe, we can gather together each year, not to glorify war, but to make sure that past sacrifices are never forgotten.

As we have done, in our local area, for many years.

The first ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee came about from a public meeting in 1916.

The community wanted to honour the fallen and all who served.

Under Canon David Garland’s energetic stewardship, the first ANZAC Day was commemorated.

And, as you know, the Colmslie Sub Branch of the RSL has led commemorations for many years, for which our community is very grateful.

Since last year’s ANZAC Day, local RSL members and supporters have faced some challenges.

But our community has rallied together to ensure that this service, and this morning’s Dawn Service at Morningside, went ahead.

The Cannon Hill District and Vietnam Services Sub-branch along with local schools, community organisations and businesses made sure that this, the Centenary Year of ANZAC, has become part of this community’s continuing ANZAC story.

I express my deepest condolences to all present who have lost family and friends to war, armed conflict, or dangerous peacekeeping missions. And I offer sympathy, as inadequate as that is, to those survivors who’ve been wounded, or have been affected by injury, whether seen or unseen.

And finally, on behalf of my constituency, I also offer humble thanks, to everyone who has served.

Lest we forget.

[1] Sir Isaac Isaacs, address, 1937

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