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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 3396


Mr CROOK (O'Connor) (13:30): I am pleased to speak on this motion before the House. It is a very important motion for my electorate. In particular, this motion is important not only for the city of Albany, in the Great Southern of Western Australia, but also for the nation.

Today I would like to highlight to the House the nationally significant role that Albany has played in Australia's military history and I call on the House to recognise this important role.

I also want to acknowledge the work of the Albany Centenary of Anzac Alliance and the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary. Finally, I call on both sides of parliament to lend their support to ensuring that Albany plays a focal role in the Anzac Centenary in 2014.

Albany holds a very significant place in Australia's military history. In November and December 1914 Albany served as a gathering place for the first convoy of ships carrying Australian and New Zealand troops to war. For many, it was the last time they stepped on Australian soil before travelling to Egypt to train and, ultimately, to take part in the landings at Gallipoli on 25 April, 1915.

As the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary pointed out in its 2011 report, the term 'Anzac' is instantly recognisable in Australia and has come to mean far more than just a military acronym. The Anzac spirit encompasses values that every Australian holds dear and aspires to emulate in their own life: courage, bravery, sacrifice, mateship, loyalty, selflessness and resilience. This spirit has given Australians an ideal to strive for and a history to be proud of, even though it was born out of war, suffering and loss.

To this day, the Anzac spirit is still alive and strong in Albany. It is alive and strong at the Anzac service, where each year more and more people turn out to commemorate our fallen soldiers. It is alive and strong among our young people in Albany, with schoolchildren actively taking a role in developing plans for the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary. And it is alive and strong for many standing atop Mount Clarence and Mount Adelaide in the centre of Albany.

The Mount Clarence war memorial, the Avenue of Honour and the Princess Royal Fortress on Mount Adelaide form a combined Anzac precinct right in the heart of Albany. This precinct is in fact one of Australia's finest outdoor military museums, receiving more than 25,000 visitors each year, featuring restored shore batteries, armouries, barracks, a collection highlighting the role of the 10th Light Horse Regiment and walking trails featuring spectacular views of King George Sound, the gathering place of that very first convoy.

The Albany community has plans to upgrade and enhance this precinct, which includes the development of an Anzac Interpretive Centre in time for the Anzac centenary commemorations. The importance of Albany in Australia's military history is surely clear to any visitor, including Prime Minister Julia Gillard and federal Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Warren Snowdon, who have both stood on top of Mount Clarence in the past year and toured this Anzac precinct.

I would like to thank the Prime Minister and Minister Snowdon for their willingness to engage with the Albany community. The federal government have supported this project, including funding contributions totalling $1.5 million to date. This has been greatly appreciated by the Albany community.

I would also like to acknowledge the work that has been undertaken by the Albany Centenary of Anzac Alliance and the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary. These groups have been instrumental in putting Albany's Anzac history on the federal government's agenda at a local and national level. Indeed, a 2011 report by the national commission has recommended that Albany play a focal role in the Anzac Centenary, including the establishment of the Anzac Interpretive Centre, which the federal government has already made a significant commitment towards. This interpretive centre would utilise technology to allow visitors to pinpoint ships gathering in King George Sound and to locate information about individual soldiers on board. Visitors would be able to trace the journey of a soldier, from the moment he left Albany through to the conclusion of his service. This centre will be a great educational tool for visitors and schools, and will be accessible both physically and online, allowing people right around the world to access this important chapter of the Anzac story. The national commission has also recommended a re-enactment of the first convoy of vessels in King George

Sound on the morning of 1 November 2014, representing the convoy of almost 100 years ago—the first gathering of the Anzacs and the starting point of the Anzac legend. As I stated earlier, Albany has played a very significant role in the Anzac story and I look forward to seeing both sides of this House supporting Albany's role as a focal point for the commemoration of the Anzac centenary in 2014. I commend this motion to the House.