- Parliamentary Business
- Senators & Members
- News & Events
- About Parliament
- Visit Parliament
Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
ANZAC Day 2005: a message from the Governor-General.
A MESSAGE FROM
MAJOR GENERAL MICHAEL JEFFERY AC CVO MC (Retd) GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA
ANZAC DAY 2005
(This message appears in the RSL national newsletter ‘Stand To’)
This year ANZAC Day takes on a broader historical significance with the confluence of three important occasions: 2005 marks the 90th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli, the 60th anniversary of victory in Europe in World War Two and the 40th year since the first Australian battalion landed in Vietnam. Three historic events in our nation's history; three wars that have cost the lives of more than 100,000 Australians; three wars that have not only had a significant bearing on the way our country has developed, but have also changed the world.
On 11th March this year HMAS ANZAC departed from Albany, Western Australia on a voyage re-enacting the passage of the convoy of more than 40 warships and transports that steamed out of the same harbour in November 1914, carrying thousands of young Australians overseas. They left our shores filled with a keen sense of spirit and a high sense of adventure. Many went to Gallipoli or France, where in different ways, their military exploits are still revered today.
An Australian Government adviser on a visit to the western front in 1918 encountered General Henry Rawlinson, one of the British Army’s senior commanders. Rawlinson said he regarded the taking of Mont St Quentin as one of the most brilliant events of the war:
"It could only have been accomplished by unflinchingly courageous, perfectly trained and physically fit men. And that's what the Australians are. I am filled with admiration for them.”
High praise indeed, although tinged with sadness when measured against the scale of Australia’s losses in WW1. More than 60,000 of those spirited young Australians were killed, but they gave birth to a legend. They helped forge a sense of spirit in this country, a sense of national identity further strengthened by our involvement in WW2 and later campaigns.
Increasingly with the passing years the dawn ceremonies, reflections and re-unions are giving deeper meaning to the term ‘ANZAC spirit.’ Younger Australians are finding a national sense of expression on ANZAC Day as they absorb our proud military history, as they learn of the deeds of their great grandparents, and of more recent contributions to improving regional and global stability.
The red poppies decorating the names of the fallen in the cloisters of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra are a poignant symbol of our sacrifice in all wars. The steady increase in the number of poppies reflects a growing awareness and appreciation of their deeds.