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Six War Memorial Cottages, Crafers-South Australia, Monday, 14 September 1998: address on the occasion of the opening.

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Over the years, Helen and I have visited the Adelaide Hills on countless occasions. This is the first time, however, that we have been back here since I became Governor- General more than 2 ι Δ years ago and it is a great pleasure indeed to be back. That is particularly the case since today’s visit to Adelaide has a number of highlights. Each is a cause of pleasure and pride. Earlier today I was privileged to open “Hillside Lodge” a splendid new aged care facility here in the Adelaide Hills which has been established by Masonic Homes for the frail aged. This afternoon it will be my great pleasure to confer the 1997 Stanhope Gold Medal on Mr Anthony Day at the Adelaide Town Hall. The medal, which is an award of international significance, was established by the Royal Humane Society of the United Kingdom, is conferred for what is seen as the outstanding act of gallantry in a calendar year in any of the countries in which the Royal Humane Society or any of its associated societies operate. It is not only an honour to South Australia that one of its citizens has - for the second time I might note - been selected as the recipient of the 1997 Gold Medal. It is an honour to all Australians.

And in between those 2 events - one concerned with the care and support of older citizens, the other with recognition of gallantry, there is this highlight of today’s visit which combines both.

The 6 War Memorial Cottages which we are opening here at Crafers (CRAYFERS) represent a combined achievement for which a number of organisations and individuals can claim great credit. The project is the outcome of co-operation between government, at both local and State levels, the Returned and Services League, other community groups such as the Stirling Community Shop and Mylor Senior Citizens and a large number of individuals including the Mayor, Councillor Aspinall and Mr Millard who is the President of the Stirling Sub-branch of the R & S L of Australia.

The site of the cottages is Crown land which was, in 1976, dedicated as a War Memorial Reserve under the care and control of the then District Council of Stirling which, as you know, amalgamated with 3 other District Councils to constitute the Adelaide Hills Council on l July last year. In 1996 the Stirling Sub-branch of the R & SL approached the Council with a proposal to build aged accommodation for war veterans or their widows or widowers on the site. The State Government approved the project. In 1997 an adjoining


allotment was bought by the Council to allow improved access. The construction of the 6 cottages began in January of this year and was completed in July at a total cost of well over S'Am. The cottages are now occupied 2 by couples and the remaining 4 by individual

ladies. All occupants have close connections with the R S L.

Across our land, there are of course many memorials to the gallantry and sacrifice of those who served and died for our country in the various Wars in which Australia has been engaged. At this particular time, it seems to me that it would be difficult to imagine a more appropriate form of War Memorial than that which we are here to open today. And, if I might say so, it is impossible to think of a more appropriate organisation to have been actively involved, with local government, in the planning and establishment of such a War Memorial than the organisation which has, over more than 8 decades, represented our veterans, the Returned & Services League of Australia.

A fortnight ago, on 2 September, I opened the 83rd National Conference of the R S L in Sydney. In the course of my comments I pointed to the fact that the challenges facing the League have become more demanding and fall more heavily upon it as the proportionate numbers of frail aged veterans and dependants continue to grow. The last World War in which Australia was engaged as a nation ended more than half a century ago. A young man who turned 18 on 2 September 1945 when Douglas MacArthur accepted the final surrender of Japan at the end of World War II celebrated his 71st birthday on the day when the National Conference opened. Again and Again, we Australians have pledged that we will never forget the sacrifices made by those who fought

for our country in time of war. There seems to me to be no better way of honouring that pledge than by providing appropriate accommodation for those veterans and their dependants now that such a high proportion of them have reached the age when they are

likely to be in such need.

Helen and I have not as yet had a opportunity of inspecting the inside of any of the cottages. We have, however, had the benefit of full descriptions. Obviously, the project has been brought to an extremely successful conclusion. And that applies not only to the actual construction and the quality of the work. At Hillside Lodge I stressed the importance of accommodation for older members of our community being planned in a way that enabled them to preserve their contacts within the community and not feel isolated. In that regard, it’s noteworthy that the residents of the six cottages come from the district and many still have family members living here.

Let me conclude by offering my warm congratulations and thanks to all associated with planning and achieving the successful completion of the War Memorial Cottages. The Mayor and the Council, the members of the special committee which oversaw the project. The Stirling Sub-branch of the R & SL which proposed the project and has been

so closely involved in it. All those other organisations and individuals who have supported it either financially or otherwise. The Designer and Project Manager: John Ashcroft Building Design; the Builder: Normus Home; all those involved in the outstanding landscaping: and all those whom I have forgotten.

Finally, I express every good wish to the residents for many happy years in their new homes. And now, with much pleasure I declare the War Memorial Cottages at Grafters to be officially open.