The Naval Association of Australia, Queensland Section Official Unveiling of the Navy Memorial
Ms Jennifer Howard MP, representing our Premier; Vice-Admiral Barrett; Commander McConnell; other distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honour for Kaye and me to join you today for this important event.
The timing could not be better. Last year, shore base HMAS Moreton returned to Brisbane, and I was so proud to be part of the re-commissioning last year – in the presence of the Vice-Admiral.
Our commemoration of World War One centenaries has included the first HMAS Sydney’s victory over the Emden in 1914.
And this year also marks the 75th anniversary of the all-important Battle of the Coral Sea, so close to Queensland’s shores.
The vital roles of HMAS Australia and HMAS Hobart in the Battle have been celebrated here and in the United States.
But few of us Australians would know that HMAS Hobart also saw active service in the Horn of Africa in World War Two?
And few of us would know of the service of the Australian Navy, with New Zealand and British Allies, in Far Eastern Strategic Reserve operations in South East Asia from 1955 to 1963?
The Navy’s many outstanding contributions to our nation’s security in war and in peace have taken place close to home, and in many far-flung corners of the globe.
This new memorial embraces them all in commemorating the service of the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy, whenever and wherever they served – and those who still serve.
Fittingly, the Park in which this memorial stands has been dedicated to military commemoration since 1920. Just as fittingly, the statue overlooks the Maritime Museum and HMAS Diamantina.
I congratulate the Far Eastern Strategic Reserve Association, Queensland, and the Naval Association of Australia, Queensland Section, for their vision, hard work and commitment in bringing this marvellous project to fruition.
I thank wholeheartedly all those who supported the project, financially and otherwise.
I thank and congratulate Queensland-based sculptor, Catherine Anderson, on her wonderful work.
I look forward to the Chief of Navy’s unveiling of the memorial.
But for now, as Governor and Patron of the Naval Association, I speak for all Queenslanders in welcoming the completion of this moving memorial, and its placement in this prominent site in our capital city.
The memorial now becomes a very special place – a place where we may all express our pride in all who have proudly and selflessly served in the Royal Australian Navy over the span of more than a century; a place where we may express, for their commitment, our deep gratitude.