ANZAC Day 2022 Dawn Service Speech
Please be seated.
Good morning Queenslanders.
I begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands on which we gather this morning, and extend my greatest respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people who have served and continue to serve our country in the armed forces.
One hundred and seven years ago today, in the misty dawn of Gallipoli, the first wave of Australian soldiers began their landing on the beaches at Anzac Cove.
The first man ashore was a member of Queensland’s 9th Infantry Battalion.
The soldiers of the covering force were met with steep, rugged cliffs and intense enemy resistance.
By the time the sun rose the next day, 2,000 Australian and New Zealand men had been killed or wounded.
By the end of the eight-month long campaign, more than 8,000 Australians would never make it home.
But from this tragedy was born an enduring symbol—one that continues to demonstrate that in the face of adversity, optimism is generated by courage, and tremendous strength is built on unity.
The qualities of mateship, bravery and resourcefulness—bolstered by a ready willingness to laugh and to dare—shaped our infant nation’s perception of self, and helped make sense of an event that caused immense loss and heartache.
Today, at commemorations throughout our State and much further afield, we stand together to reflect on this important legacy—one that does not seek to glorify, but instead solemnly honours those who lost their lives that day, and those who have served our country in all conflicts and peace-keeping missions since.
This day allows us to consider that the wounds suffered in combat are not only physical; they can be deeper and far more insidious.
Our first ANZACs endured unimaginable horrors on the battlefields and in the trenches. They saw friends killed beside them. They lived with the dark and ceaseless thought that this day could be their last.
There was enormous pressure placed on them to be stoic—to bury feelings of despair and distress. “Shell shock” - as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was then referred to – was largely misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mistreated.
While we have come a long way since the last shots were fired in that War, I know, as a former doctor, that constantly enhancing our knowledge of mental health resilience will deliver better outcomes for all mental health conditions, and not just for PTSD.
Outside the theatre of war, our servicemen and women are often called upon to help in situations that are confronting and perilous.
I was privileged to meet some of these incredible individuals during my time at Queensland Health—members of our Defence Reserves aiding in peacekeeping efforts in the Solomon Islands, and assisting in our State’s disaster responses.
Recently, ADF personnel have supported Operation Flood Assist 2022, contributing to flood preparation, search and rescue efforts and clean-up activities in our State.
Earlier this month I was delighted to visit Maryborough’s famed ANZAC Memorial Walk and the Duncan Chapman statue and see them restored to their pre-flood magnificence. And I was in awe of the tremendous collection of military and colonial memorabilia at the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum, which provides such a testament to the heroes who fought in distant lands to ensure our way of life and prosperity.
All of our Defence personnel are very special people, prepared to put themselves in danger to serve others, and to strive for harmony and freedom.
We each have a responsibility to ensure they are as protected and supported as we are, by their selfless efforts.
Now, when we look back at our forebears—those in the Navy, Army and Air Force - and all who saw active service - we realise the sacrifices they made went far beyond the visible.
Graeme and I had grandparents who fought in the world wars.
My grandfather served in the Dutch army in World War II, was captured during the fall of Singapore and became a prisoner of war.
Like many others, including 13,000 Australians, he was put to work on the Burma-Thailand Railway—an ordeal now well documented as being unbelievably appalling, exacerbated by horrendous conditions in camp that brought misery, and thousands of deaths. 
Both Graeme’s grandfathers fought in World War I, one in German New Guinea and the other on the Western Front, seeing unbelievable horrors.
Graeme’s father served in World War II as a radio operator and air gunner in the R-A-A-F.
Thankfully, all four survived, but I only wish they could have received the assistance they doubtless needed to fully recover from their experiences.
I am sure many of you have similar stories—possibly from more recent conflicts.
It is important we bring these narratives to light.
It is why we gather here in ANZAC Square’s Shrine of Remembrance—a place that owes it very existence to our collective desire to create a public space to honour those who wore or still wear our country’s uniform on our behalf.
On Remembrance Day in 1930, Sir John Goodwin, the then Queensland Governor, first lit the Eternal Flame.
As a former doctor—and a man who had seen active service himself—he was well aware of its symbolic importance, both to those in the forces and those who support them.
Today, this flame continues to burn brightly - a beacon of hope, especially in periods of difficulty and uncertainty.
But it is also a conspicuous reminder - in these current, troubling times - that liberty and peace are deeply precious and can never be taken for granted.
It is a reminder that we owe a debt of gratitude to those prepared to sacrifice everything to protect our way of life.
It is a reminder that the ANZAC tradition continues to give us strength, to unify and to inspire.
Lest we forget.