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Monday, 26 November 2018
Page: 11530

Ms LAMB (Longman) (18:32): I rise today to commemorate Remembrance Day, which fell on the 11th day of this, the 11th, month. Every year, people all around Australia stop to reflect on the great sacrifice that was made by those who served our nation in the First World War. This year marks the Centenary of Armistice—100 years from when the guns fell silent on the Western Front. Our country, of course, was still in its infancy then. From a population of less than five million, more than 400,000 Australians enlisted to serve. With just over one in 12 Australians courageously enlisting to serve, it comes as no surprise that they hailed from all over—many of them from the area which I now represent.

The bravery of these Australians will not be forgotten—Australians like Arthur Henley, who was living in Burpengary when he enlisted on 9 October 1915. He enlisted as a private and embarked from Sydney on board the HMATSS Hawkes Bay on 20 April 1916. Arthur's fine service will not be forgotten. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for the most conspicuous gallantry and determination, which he displayed at Villeret in 1918. This labourer from regional Queensland twice led his section at enemy strong points which were holding up the advance. He worked his gun to a flank and brought fire to bear on the strong point. Later he led a charge against an enemy machine gun, firing his gun from the hip. Arthur succeeded in capturing it and, with it, seven prisoners. Australia was very lucky to see him return home on 5 September 1919. But as we all know, not everyone was so lucky. Of the 400,000 Australians who served, more than 150,000 were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner. Tragically, 60,000 gave their lives to defend this great nation of ours. This, of course, took a truly significant toll on the individuals, families and communities that survived them.

In seeking to better understand my region's contribution to the First World War, I came across an article that appeared in the newspaper The Queenslander on 4 August 1917. It reads:

Charles Munro, of Burpengary, Queensland—

that's how it begins—

has received a cablegram from the commandment, 13th Flying Squadron, advising that his son, Lieutenant J.D. Munro, was killed in England in an aeroplane accident on the 17th instant.

The article continues to detail Lieutenant Munro's interesting and impressive record. He was one of the earliest volunteers to leave the state in 1914. He was at the nation-defining landing of Gallipoli. He served for several months on that campaign. He found love while enlisted, marrying a nurse who helped restore him to health following a bout of illness. I know the tragedy that was his death will never be forgotten.

I also came across an article from The Brisbane Courier that ran on 30 August 1918, and it read:

News has been received by Mr and Mrs J.C. Kellior, Mt Comrie, Upper Caboolture, that their second son, Private T.H. Kellior, died of wounds on August 9 in France. This is their second son to make the supreme sacrifice.

As a parent, I can feel myself connecting with these very personal stories. We so often retell the courageous stories of bravery and valour that personal stories can become lost. We often forget that, while these brave men and women served overseas, they left behind their parents, their loved ones and their families. We forget that, for regular Australian parents like those of Lieutenant Munro or Private Kellior, while their children were serving overseas, life was just meant to go on. I know the pride they would have felt, but I also know how devastating it must have been to read the cablegrams that related such tragic news for their families.

We will not forget them. We will not forget those who served and we'll not forget the sacrifices that they made. A hundred years have passed since the guns fell silent on the Western Front. Even 100 years from today, our nation is still in their debt. We will remember them. Lest we forget.