Page 114 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 25 February 2014

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Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.


Motion (by Mr Corbell) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Australian War Memorial

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (5.35): Last week I had the honour of attending the launch of the Australian War Memorial’s program to mark the centenary of the First World War. The war significantly affected this country and our city, not least in the creation of the War Memorial itself when none had been planned by the Griffins in 1911. The recent Australian national museum exhibition for Canberra’s centenary focusing on Australia in 1913 showed the innocent idealism and enthusiasm of the wealthy new nation that included plans for an ideal new national capital. Those Australians were unaware that the next year they would be dragged into a European war that would claim over 60,000 lives and shatter countless more.

Former Prime Minister Keating argued at his War Memorial armistice address last November that Australia was already a proud nation before the war, a nation fully formed. The war alone did not define the nation but it had an enormous impact physically and mentally throughout the country.

As Canberra’s centenary did for our city, helping us to re-examine our past and how we became who we are and where we are going, the War Memorial’s First World War commemoration will do more than just relate where Australians fought and died. It will delve into who we were, why we fought and how it changed us as a nation.

In the wide-ranging historical and social program, I am pleased to see that the commemoration will also reflect on the service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the war. The memorial is expanding and adding more detail to the list of the 1,300 Indigenous personnel recorded as serving in the First World War. Their stories will be included through the new galleries.

One diorama will tell stories of Aboriginal troopers in the 11th Light Horse Regiment, which had a high proportion of Indigenous servicemen and was sometimes known as the “black watch”. Along with the Australian National University, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Australian Defence Force, the memorial is involved with the serving our country project, a history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service in the ADF.

The memorial is assisting with approximately 15 documentaries and programs focusing on Indigenous service. It assisted in the research for the Black Diggers stage production recently at the Opera House, and it is to have another run in Brisbane later

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