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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9260

Mr EWEN JONES (Herbert) (10:52): Residents of Townsville lined The Strand and Jezzine Barracks on Saturday afternoon as the community marked the centenary of the 3rd Brigade with a freedom of entry march. Fifteen hundred soldiers marched on Saturday. Brigadier Roger Noble, Commander of the 3rd Brigade, said at the time, 'I don't think there is a better place to march in the country,' as the soldiers before him stood at ease in perfect lines in Strand Park, facing Cleveland Bay with Castle Hill behind them and the newly created Jezzine Park just down the road. He went on to say, 'It is special as never before has the freedom of entry to the city been given to a brigade. So, at the centenary of the First World War and the 100 years of this brigade, Townsville is the first place to do it.'

The 3rd Brigade was first formed in 1914 under the initial command of British officer Colonel Ewen Sinclair-MacLagan. I note that the first commander and I share the same first name and it is spelled the same—a coincidence, I think not. The brigade was made up of the 9th Battalion from Queensland, the 10th Battalion from South Australia and the 11th Battalion from Western Australia, and the 12th Battalion was made up of Tasmanians, South Australians and Western Australians. For this reason, the brigade was also known as the 'all Australian brigade'. The brigade is well-known for leading the landing at Gallipoli. By the time the 3rd Brigade was withdrawn for reinforcement, half of the 4,000-strong force had been lost.

The 3rd Brigade was involved in World War II in the Pacific, based in Darwin and Townsville. However, it was not until 1967, when Lavarack Barracks was built, that the 3rd Brigade found a permanent home in my city of Townsville. Since then, the brigade has represented the ADF in many combat and peacekeeping roles, including Vietnam, Fiji, Operation Solace in Somalia, Bougainville, the horrors of Rwanda, Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, Uganda, Cambodia and the first Gulf War. 1999 saw combat units sent to East Timor, and in recent years deployment to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Solomon Islands as part of RAMSI.

The 3rd Brigade represents over 4,000 soldiers at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville. The brigade forms an integral part of our community. They have families, they play sport, they volunteer and of course contribute immensely to the local economy. Townsville enjoys a fantastic relationship between the city and the ADF. The 3rd Brigade is a major part of that, along with the RAAF base in Townsville. But it has not always been that way. It was not until we sent personnel to Somalia that they went from 'Army jerks' to 'our boys'. Credit must go to three parties: the ADF, who made the commitment to be part of the city; the mayor at the time, Tony Mooney, who led the charge to bring them into our hearts and lives; and the Townsville Bulletin, which pushed and moulded public opinion. Those three offices still hold great responsibility, and may that always be so.