No. 23 (City of Brisbane) Squadron RAAF Dedication of the Barellan Point Landing Ground
I too acknowledge our elected members, senior defence force representatives, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. As Patron of the No. 23 Squadron Association (Queensland), and Honorary Air Commodore of No. 23 (City of Brisbane) Squadron, I am delighted to join you today for this dedication ceremony.
This now peaceful place has strong links with the Squadron.
The local houses on acreage give us a mostly uninterrupted view of our surroundings, and of the fact that we are on suitably level ground.
Even so, it is difficult to imagine now that this elevated spot at the junction of the Bremer and Brisbane rivers was a kilometre-long emergency landing strip during World War Two.
I do not know how many RAAF aircraft were forced to take advantage of the landing ground in an emergency – not many, I hope.
The memorial cairn that I will soon unveil refers specifically, of course, to this landing ground. It will serve as a permanent reminder of how even quiet, rural places, as this was at the time, played a role in defending Australia during the dark days of World War Two.
It will also serve as a reminder, in this centenary year of the ANZACs at Gallipoli, of all those who served in the Squadron in World War Two. These men – mostly young men – placed themselves in harms’ way to serve and defend their country. They saw active service in the South Pacific theatre of the war.
The cairn also brings alive the history of No. 23 Squadron for those who now serve in the Squadron’s base at Amberley, and for the wider community.
I congratulate wholeheartedly all those involved in this project – the Squadron, the Association, and the Ipswich City Council. Their hard work and dedication has brought this marvellous memorial to fruition.
I thank the senior RAAF officers from Amberley who have joined us today to mark the occasion.
And it is with great pleasure that I now unveil the memorial cairn to the Barellan Point Landing Ground. Thank you.