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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1130 ..

Following the cancellation of last year’s events, the theme “Reimagine” returned this year and perhaps is even more apt, with many holders having to reimagine how to present their activities in a COVID-safe way. I am thrilled to say that they have done so wonderfully, and it has been my privilege and my pleasure to attend a number of events, both in my role as Minister for Heritage and personally.

The events that I have enjoyed included a tour of the ANU’s Heritage Aboriginal Trail with Ngunnawal elder Wally Bell. I gained insight into ceremony and how the local Aboriginal people manage their landscape. I attended “Fooling around in flannels”, an exhibition about cricket on the Limestone Plains, which began in the 1840s. I also attended the launch of the digital Father Maher collection. The collection provides the history of 23 of our territory’s pioneer families, one of which I discovered was mine. I unveiled a new sign at the site of the Dickson aerodrome, got up close and natural with nature art at the Old Barn Gallery at Pialligo, and learnt much about our modern-built history from tours of Braddon and Griffith.

I mention these events to give members an insight into the wide range of activities that have given our community the opportunity to learn more about, and celebrate, our heritage. I would like to thank festival organisers and participants for their hard work in dreaming up and delivering this event. This has happened because of the efforts of many volunteers. For those members who have not enjoyed one of this year’s Heritage Festival events, I strongly encourage you to do so. There are still a few more days to go; don’t miss out.

Anzac Day—Light Up the Dawn

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee) (5.41): Australia did not get to celebrate Anzac Day in the traditional way last year. By 25 April, we had just got our first wave of the COVID pandemic under control, and we were jittery about what the future might hold. And rightly so, as it turned out.

By late March, all overseas Anzac Day commemoration services had been cancelled, as well as dawn services here in Canberra and around the nation. It had been 101 years since the last cancellation of the national ceremony, during the 1919 flu pandemic. That year the devastating effects of the First World War would still have been fresh and apparent, both for individuals and across the community. It would have been the first Anzac Day commemoration since the coming of peace. Although the traditions that are now so well established were still in their infancy, the sporadic attempts to mark the day in grief for loved ones lost so recently must have been even harder in the face of the influenza crisis. But community spirit and pride and determination would have been running high, too, as they are still.

This year, with a partial return to a more familiar form of commemoration, we can see the Anzac spirit living on in the way that Australians have handled the pandemic of our own time. With relatively few exceptions, we have done what we needed to do. We have listened to the experts and taken individual responsibility. We have embraced the new details in our lives, such as the Check In CBR app, in the same way as those on the Australian home front, during Australia’s wars, embraced ration cards and new biscuit recipes. We have supported fighters on the front lines of the COVID battle. There are ongoing changes in the way that we do things.

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