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Tobruk Mural and display a lasting tribute to diggers.



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The Hon. Danna Vale MP Minister for Veterans' Affairs Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

Media Release

Tuesday 2 September 2003

VA087

TOBRUK MURAL AND DISPLAY A LASTING TRIBUTE TO DIGGERS

A mural and display depicting the famous Siege of Tobruk during World War II was officially launched today in Adelaide by the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Danna Vale.

The Minister said the Tobruk Mural at the Army Museum of South Australia would be part of the Tobruk Commemorative Display and would help to commemorate the role of Australians in the siege.

"The Siege of Tobruk is a classic example of the dedication of the Australian forces and of the resilience of the Australian spirit in the face of overwhelming odds," Mrs Vale said.

"After being ordered to hold the important port town of Tobruk for two months until reinforcements could be sent, the Australian 9th Division and the 18th Brigade of the 7th Division were cut off and held on for eight months, despite numerous attempts by the enemy to drive them out.

"The Australians earned the name the Rats of Tobruk because they did not give in, and continued to hold the strategically important port.

"Among the Rats of Tobruk were several South Australian units, the 2/10, the 2/43 and the 2/48 Infantry Battalions.

"The Royal Australian Navy also served with distinction during the Tobruk campaign, braving enemy fire and aerial attacks on the harbour to deliver vital supplies to the garrison via the Tobruk Ferry.

"The Rats are an important part of Australia's wartime heritage and it is vital that we honour their service and sacrifice and ensure their story is passed on to future generations," she said.

The Minister said the Australian Government had supported the Tobruk Mural with a grant under the Saluting Their Service commemorations program.

"Saluting Their Service aims to commemorate the service of Australia's servicemen and women," Mrs Vale said.

"I was pleased to approve a grant of $1200 to assist with the costs of the Tobruk Mural.

"The Army Museum of South Australia should be commended for their commitment to preserving and commemorating Australia's wartime heritage," she said.

Media contact: Rachael Thompson (02) 6277 7820 or 0417 265 289