The One Day of the Year: Excerpts from Other Speeches

Extracted from “ANZAC Day” Debate, NSW, Parliamentary Debates Legislative Council, 4 April 2012, commencing p. 10593 and annotated as applicable

Excerpts: The Hon. NATASHA MACLAREN-JONES

As one would expect, the Australian Women’s Land Army ran with military precision. The women lived in dormitories, wore uniforms and were under the close supervision of the Land Army matrons. They performed a wide range of manual tasks from harvesting to ploughing the land, operating heavy farm machinery and building irrigation systems.

Speech to Federal Parliament by Russell Matheson MP on 12 March 2012

The Australian Women’s Land Army ran efficiently and with military precision, reporting to the Director-General of Manpower. The women lived in dormitories, wore uniforms and were under close supervision of the land army matrons. They performed a wide range of manual tasks from picking fruits and vegetables to ploughing the land, operating heavy farm machinery and building irrigation systems. 

Maclaren-Jones:

In October 1942 the Minister for Labour and National Service, aware of the need to compete with the three women’s services, recommended improving the status of the Australian Women’s Land Army by instituting it as a fourth service. In January 1943 the Federal Cabinet endorsed the status of both divisions of the Australian Women’s Land Army as an official fourth service. The organisation was to be formally constituted under the National Security Regulations. A final draft of these regulations was not completed until 1945 and was not acted upon before the end of the War and the demobilisation of the Australian Women’s Land Army.

“Australian Women’s Land Army” entry, Encyclopedia, Australian War Memorial:

In October 1942 the Minister for Labour and National Service, aware of the need to compete with the three women’s services, recommended improving the status of the AWLA by instituting it as a fourth service. In January 1943 Cabinet endorsed the status of both divisions of the AWLA as an “official fourth service”. The organisation was to be formally constituted under the National Security Regulations. A final draft of these regulations, however, was not completed until 1945, and was not acted upon before the end of the war and the demobilisation of the AWLA. As a result, members of the AWLA were not accorded the same benefits as members of the other women’s services. 

Maclaren-Jones:

At the end of World War II, surplus funds from the national headquarters were divided between the different States for each of the land army groups. In New South Wales they were allocated £500. A group of ladies who had worked in the New South Wales headquarters decided to establish a committee for ex-army members. Aileen Lynch, a former Australian Women’s Land Army superintendent in New South Wales, suggested the money be placed in an account that could be used to further the interests of all ex-members of the Australian Women’s Land Army in a welfare, training and advisory capacity. A city-based club was established where the women could continue their wartime friendships and arrange return visits to the country centres where they had worked. Although these women did not serve on the front line, their hardships, sacrifice and service to keep our country strong must be commended. We must all be proud of their contribution and dedication to Australia and their efforts during the war. On behalf of a grateful nation, we say thank you.

Australian Women’s Land Army (AWLA) (1942 – 1945), entry, Australian Women’s Register:

At the end of the World War II, surplus funds were divided between the different state Women’s Land Army groups. New South Wales was allocated 500 pounds. A group of ‘girls’ who had worked at the New South Wales Australian Women’s Land Army Headquarters, established a committee. Aileen Lynch former AWLA superindent in NSW suggested that the money be placed in an account which would be used to establish a club to further the interests of all ex-members of the AWLA in welfare, training and advisory capacity. The club was to have a city base where the girls could continue their wartime friendship and arrange return visits to the country centres where they had worked. [1]

Excerpts: The Hon. MARIE FICARRA (Parliamentary Secretary)

Each year on 25 April we commemorate the 1.5 million Australians who have served their country in wartime, and over 100,000 who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Although today this is a proud tradition amongst Australians that has forever shaped our culture and society, it was not initially recognised by the Commonwealth Government. Many would be surprised to learn that Acting Prime Minister Senator George Pearce viewed Gallipoli as a failure, and was hopeful that a later battle would prove to be “more worthy of remembering”. It is quite evident today that he failed to see the significance this date would come to hold for all Australians. Wartime Anzac days were particularly important for our country, as they provided families and loved ones the opportunity to recognise and acknowledge the sacrifices made by simple acts of commemoration. It was quite common for women and children to tie ribbons onto the gates of wharves where they last saw their husbands, sons, fathers or brothers alive.

“Anzac Day Kit”, prepared by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Library (Excerpts taken from the Kit updated for 2012, but this was in circulation in previous years:)

Anzac Day was first observed on 25 April 1916, as people came together to honour those lost at Gallipoli. In Australia, some state governments organised events to commemorate the occasion—but the Commonwealth did not. Acting Prime Minister Senator George Pearce viewed Gallipoli as a failure, and believed that a later battle might prove ‘more worthy of remembering’. He clearly misjudged the importance to the people of this day.

The wartime Anzac Days were especially important for the bereaved. With so many killed, the pain was palpable. Anzac Day was a moment to recognise and acknowledge the sacrifice with services and simple acts of remembrance, such as women tying ribbons onto the gates of wharves where they last saw their sons, brothers or husbands alive.

Ficarra:

By the end of World War I Anzac Day would become a fixture of public consciousness, with marches and ceremonies overseen by the Returned Sailors and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia—the predecessor to the Returned and Services League of Australia [RSL]. By the late 1920s Anzac Day became a public holiday in every Australian State and Territory, leading to the growing sentiment that this developing “Anzac spirit” would be passed down to a younger generation. During World War II the “sons of Anzacs” were welcomed, and the day began to honour veterans of all wars..

Anzac Day Kit:

Anzac Day was a fixture by the war’s end. Politicians (some of whom had served, or lost loved ones and friends) forged bonds with the Returned Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Imperial League of Australia (now the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL)), which assumed responsibility for the day. Rituals such as dawn services and the march were developed, and gradually the families of the dead became quite marginalised. While all people were encouraged to remember, the day was in many ways for ex-servicemen to honour their dead. In Melbourne during the late 1920s, women, including mothers of those killed, were banned from the dawn service because of their wailing.

By the late 1920s, Anzac Day was a public holiday in every state and territory. In the 1930s, there was rhetoric about the need to pass the ‘Anzac spirit’ down to the next generation. This was partly politically motivated, as there was a feeling that people needed steeling for another war. In the Second World War, the ‘sons of the Anzacs’ were welcomed, and the day now honoured veterans of all wars. But despite greater numbers of veterans, by the 1960s its popularity had waned, and many wondered if Anzac Day would survive.

Excerpts – The Hon. MATTHEW MASON-COX

Harold Edward (Pompey) Elliott, 1878-1931, soldier, lawyer and politician, was appointed to command the 7th Battalion in the 2nd Brigade when the Australian Imperial Force was being raised in August 1914. His men called him “Pompey”, reportedly in recognition of his explosive temper, a nickname which did not please him but which clung to him to the end.

Elliott, Harold Edward (Pompey) (1878–1931), entry, Australian Dictionary of Biography:

Harold Edward (Pompey) Elliott (1878-1931), soldier, lawyer and politician … When the Australian Imperial Force was being raised in August 1914, Elliott was appointed to command the 7th Battalion in the 2nd Brigade. His massive frame—he had been a good footballer and university champion weight-putter—his energy, strength of character and explosive temper quickly established him as one of the characters of the force. His men called him ‘Pompey’, a nickname which did not please him but clung to him to the end..

Mason-Cox:

On the day of the Gallipoli landing, 25 April 1915, Elliott was wounded and evacuated, not returning until early June. On 8 August 1915 he found himself at Lone Pine where he and his men repulsed the Turkish counterattacks by furious close-quarter fighting and bombing. Of the seven Victoria Crosses awarded for Lone Pine, four went to Elliott’s battalion.

Australian Dictionary of Biography:

On the day of the Gallipoli landing, 25 April 1915, Elliott was wounded and evacuated, not returning until early June. He soon won a reputation for cool courage in the fighting for German Officers’ Trench. At Lone Pine on 8 August he relieved part of the 1st Brigade and in the next twenty-four hours repulsed the Turkish counter-attacks by furious close-quarter fighting and bombing. Of the seven Victoria Crosses awarded for Lone Pine, four went to Elliott’s battalion but his own work was not recognized. 

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