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Thursday, 19 October 2006
Page: 103


Mr TICEHURST (4:35 PM) —Over 4,000 former national servicemen from around Australia, along with their families, have made their way to the New South Wales Central Coast for their 55th national anniversary reunion. The reunion is a get-together for all those who were involved in the National Service Scheme from 1951 to 1972. It also includes the CMF and reserve forces. More than 300,000 national servicemen served over that period of time, playing such an important role in the defence of our nation through the two post-war national service schemes. Of the 325,800 national servicemen over the 21-year period, 187 gave their lives on active service and some 1,500 were wounded.

As patron of both the Tuggerah Lakes branch and Central Coast branch of the National Servicemen’s Association, I would like to thank the organising committee for selecting the beautiful Central Coast for this year’s big celebration. The reunion will contribute significantly to the economic growth of the Central Coast. Our hospitality industry and local small businesses will also benefit due to the increased spending from people visiting the area for the specific purpose of attending the reunion. Daily bus tours around the scenic Central Coast and surrounding areas are a feature of the week’s activities. Unfortunately, the famous Tumbi Creek is not on the itinerary!

The reunion will take place over five days. It commenced on Wednesday, 18 October and it concludes with a giant street parade and memorial service next Sunday, 22 October. Wednesday started off a busy week with a meet and greet, allowing old mates to find each other and catch up. Later, a giant get-together was held, with an official welcome and the opening of the week’s activities.

Today brought all the excitement of the Wyong Racing Club featuring the main race of the day, the Nasho Cup. Unfortunately, I do not know the winner of the race, so I cannot let people know how their fun started. A two-day bowls carnival began against local teams at Toukley Bowling Club, and this evening a country music concert will be held at the Central Coast Leagues Club in Gosford, featuring the Wolverines and James Blundell.

Tomorrow it is R&R, tours, bowls and a memories concert featuring Lucky Starr, who is a constituent of Dobell, and Little Pattie, supported by a 20-piece concert band to be held at Tumbi Umbi’s Mingara Recreation Club. Saturday brings the national conference of the National Servicemen’s Association and the national council and concludes with a formal gala commemorative dinner for over 1,000 people, which I will be attending.

Finally, on Sunday I have been invited to the saluting dais to represent the Prime Minister and review the street parade of over 2,000 former Nashos, representing over 300,000 that were conscripted to service. This will be followed by a memorial service and a picnic in the park with entertainment for families and friends.

Planning for this reunion has taken some time, and I commend the organising committee for their mammoth efforts in bringing this all together. Two significant members that deserve a special mention are founding committee member Mr Noel Moulder, who has captained the team as the chairman, and Peter Nobbs, who has ensured that every part of the planning was properly accounted for as the financial officer.

Besides the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, a number of local businesses and organisations will be assisting the success of this event. These include Terry Webster Graphic Design, Wyong Racing Club, Wyong Shire Council, Gosford City Council, New South Wales Police, Central Coast Tourism, St John Ambulance and a number of registered clubs, including Mingara Recreation Club, Toukley Bowling Club and Central Coast Leagues Club. I wish the 2006 Nasho Reunion Association every success with this great event and I feel very honoured to be a part of what will be an unforgettable commemoration of a very important milestone in Australia’s history.