Anzac Eve Concert Presented by Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Returned and Services League (Queensland Branch)
My fellow Queenslanders. Tomorrow, during Brisbane’s Anzac Day march, and at marches all around the State, a century will have passed, to the minute, since the first Australian soldiers stepped onto the beach at Gallipoli.
For eight months the first Anzacs fought with remarkable bravery and tenacity among the deadly hills and gullies of Gallipoli. They fought a redoubtable enemy.
They paid a terrible price: so many lives lost; so many wounded in body and mind; so many families at home left stricken with grief.
And yet, forged in the heat of battle at Gallipoli, there emerged a recognisably Australian spirit, the Anzac spirit, the spirit of quiet courage, endurance, irreverence, and mateship.
In 1915, that spirit sounded a deep chord within the fledgling Australian nation. One hundred years on, it strikes that deep chord still.
The Anzacs were not the first Australians to fight a war. And as history reminds us, forcefully and tragically, they were not the last.
But Gallipoli occupies a very special station within our country’s collective memory.
A century later, the Anzac spirit still powerfully imbues our armed forces, in peace and in war.
It resonates, too, among Australians of the twenty-first century. Their pride, admiration and gratitude for the sacrifice of those who fought for our country, grow ever stronger.
Many fine words have been written across the decades about Australians at war. But sometimes even the finest words are not up to the task. That is when music may step into the breach.
The notes of the Last Post to be led tonight by Bugler Robert Schultz, of the lone piper’s lament from the ‘Governor’s Piper’, Pipe Major Roddy MacDonald, arouse deep emotion, sometimes overwhelming emotion. Tonight’s music is speaking, will speak powerfully of nostalgia, pride, sadness, and consolation. It is bringing us together in an act of reflection and remembrance.
I thank the RSL Queensland Branch, of which I am proud Patron, for its generosity in supporting this annual gift to our community, a wonderful gift of music and commemoration.
I thank the outstanding musicians of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the equally outstanding soloists, the choirs, the bands of the Royal Australian Navy and the Police Pipes and Drums, and all who are contributing to this wonderful concert.
Above all, as Governor of Queensland in this ANZAC centenary year, I profoundly thank all who have served and now serve in the Australian – and New Zealand – armed forces. It is with enormous respect and gratitude, that I pay solemn tribute to the many who made the ultimate sacrifice, sacrifices which guaranteed our lives, our freedom. Lest we forget.