Page 3697 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 23 August 2011

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country and to protect their families. Grandchildren still feel the sadness of their parents’ and grandparents’ loss. Knowing that soldiers are valued and honoured from previous battles must also help tremendously with troop morale.

The events were catastrophic for both the residents of the New Guinea islands, then an Australian administered territory, and the troops of Light Force and 1 Independent Company sent to the islands in early 1941. Families were torn apart, loved ones were missing and there were many unanswered questions. In early 1942, the Australians were ill-prepared for the Japanese onslaught and the New Guinea islands were sacrificed. A permanent Australian national memorial would provide the men who died with a lasting tribute and the honourable recognition they deserve. Relatives and loved ones of the 1,034 lost had to wait for many years to hear the truth—too many years of not knowing what happened.

The Montevideo Maru must be remembered as our greatest tragedy at sea. Governments must learn from the anguish of the relatives and be open and honest about disasters. As a politician, although I trust I will never encounter such a disaster, it is an instructive example for me to remember. The principles of honesty and openness learnt from the fate of the Montevideo Maru must apply to all aspects of public life.

Mr Bill Hoffmann

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.08): I would like to take my time on the adjournment debate today to mark the passing of Bill Hoffmann. Anyone who is interested in music in the ACT would recognise WL Hoffmann’s by-line as a prolific music critic over as long as I have lived in Canberra and for many years before that. Bill Hoffmann was one of the founding members of the Critics Circle. He died peacefully in his sleep at Ginninderra Gardens on Sunday, 21 August. He was 91.

Bill was, for a long time, Australia’s most senior music critic. He travelled all over the country for the Canberra Times and filed reviews for nearly half a century. In his early days on the Canberra Times, when he came from Adelaide, he was the supervisor of instrumental music and director of the Canberra City Band, which he re-formed in 1947 after the band had lapsed because of unemployment and a lack of players in 1937. He continued to run the Canberra City Band for 30 years until 1976. Bill was the Canberra School of Music’s original executive officer, and he recorded its formative years in his 1990 book The Canberra School of Music: the first 25 years, 1965-1990.

But Bill was best known as the Canberra Times music critic. We knew that through rain, hail or shine Bill would always be there to review. He covered the first performances of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, productions of the then Australian Opera when it visited Canberra, and he was prolific—in my experience of Bill Hoffmann as a public servant many years ago—in supervising the dispensing of overseas scholarships. Bill was very generous with his time. For music scholarships, he would review hours and hours of cassette tapes of people’s performances and give scholarly critiques of their performances which were taken into consideration when allocating scholarships.

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