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Refurbished memorial recognises Australian spirit.

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Media Release The Hon Danna Vale MP   Minister for Veterans' Affairs Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Federal Member for Hughes

VA32 Saturday 13 April 2002


The strength and dedication of the Australian people was demonstrated in the revitalisation of the Wollongong War Memorial, Veterans' Affairs Minister Danna Vale said today.

Minister Vale today re-dedicated the Wollongong Cenotaph, following a substantial upgrade of the 80-year-old memorial.

"This memorial is a tribute to our young soldiers who served in wars and conflicts across the globe, from the World War I battlefields of France to the jungles of Vietnam," she said.

"At a time when our young men are again being called upon to serve their country, this time in the war on terrorism, it is especially important that we remember those who set the proud tradition of the Australian digger that they now follow.

"It is through the creation and preservation of memorials such as the Wollongong Cenotaph that we pass down the message of remembrance to future generations of Australians."

Minister Vale said the foundation stone for the Wollongong Cenotaph was originally laid in August 1922, at a time when Australia was still recovering from its involvement in World War I.

"More than 60,000 Australian soldiers died in World War I. They gave their lives for the freedom of their beloved country and for the right to live in a democratic and just society. In many ways Australia never recovered from the loss of almost an entire generation of its young men," Minister Vale said.

"After the end of the war many Australian towns and communities raised memorials in honour of those who did not return. Wollongong was among those to honour these brave soldiers.

"All war memorials, from our magnificent national shrine of remembrance in Canberra to local suburban memorials, help us to recognise the service and sacrifice of Australian men and women in numerous wars and conflicts."

The Minister said the Federal Government had supported the upgrade of the Wollongong Cenotaph with a $10,000 grant under its commemorations program.

"This funding assisted with costs of replacing cracked paving and providing wheelchair access to the memorial, to ensure it is accessible to all members of the community," she said.

Since 1997 the Government's commemorations program has provided more than $5 million

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in grants to more than 2500 ex-service and community organisations.

Media Contact: Rachael Thompson 02 6277 7820 or 0417 265 289

Editors Note: The re-dedication ceremony will take place at Wollongong War Memorial & Cenotaph Complex at McCabe Park, Wollongong, from 11:40am


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