ANZAC Day Memorial Speech – Port Melbourne 25th April Reply

I am very honoured to be involved in this ceremony today.
The City of Port Phillip respectfully acknowledges the Yalukit Wilum Clan of the Boon Wurrung. We pay our respect to their Elders, both past and present. We acknowledge and uphold their continuing relationship to this land.
I would like to acknowledge
– Martin Foley MP – Member for Albert Park
– Commander Mike Lovell RFD RANR(Rtd) Reserve Force Decoration -Royal Australian Navy Reserve (retired)
– Inspector Paul Breen, Cr Huxley, Cr Bond – service men and women and families
Two weeks ago a local man by the name of Geoffrey Charles Jackson died and the flag on the Port Melbourne town hall was lowered in honour of his dedication to his community and country. It has been told to me that he lived for this day and has been a part of this service for over 30 years. This day comes about by some hard work and dedication and I would like to acknowledge the effort of all the organisers of this special event. – thankyou

98 years after that fateful landing on the shores of Gallipoli, Anzac Day continues to be a defining moment in Australian history:
• a day when we honour those who have fallen on our behalf
• a day when we remember the human cost of that and subsequent actions in World War 11, Malaya, Korea and Vietnam
• a day when we celebrate the qualities of endurance, courage and fair play which characterise Australians and the Australian way of life.

ANZAC Day also has a unique power
• To bring about this gathering
• To bring Port Melbourne people – long standing, new residents or in between – together
• To bring different generations together
It is a moment in time to remember, in particular, the over 60,000 Australians who died on the battlefields of Europe and Turkey – the highest casualty rate of any imperial army involved in the Great War. This experience irrevocably changed our fledgling nation, forging our sense of national identity but also leaving in its wake a generation of men scarred by war.

Let us not forget, either that amazing generation of women who scraped by in their menfolk’s absence only to be left widowed or caring for their injured men when they returned. They then endured the further heartbreak of seeing their sons – and daughters too – have to march off to another world war.

Many younger Australians will be part of this national collective act of remembrance. And this turn out today gives us all hope that the history of our country will still be valued for future generations.

The handing down of communal memories is essential. It’s also important that each generation also remembers and understands that peace if fragile.

Our City is privileged to have war memorials erected together by the citizens and councils that recognise those men and women who served, and acknowledge those who did not return. I often contemplate my grandfathers that fought in the war and imagine what could it have been like to be one of the last men of the shores of Gallipoli, as one of my grandfathers was. For Port families, departure for war would have been particularly poignant, seeing fathers, sons and uncles departing from Princess pier and Station pier right here, where they worked, and which formed the cornerstone of many of the local industries.

These families, their contributions and their losses, are recorded on Honour Boards across the city. These beautiful, intricately carved and golden lettered boards are well named. It is well worth seeking these out – in sporting clubs, at Town Halls and other community venues – and reflecting on the names inscribed in gold. Families of those named will be represented here today, others at ceremonies across the country. These honour boards remind us, generations on from the ANZAC conflict, that this is the story of our local people – family by family – name by name.

Lest we forget. Written and spoken by Cr Bernadene Voss

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