Ipswich Soldiers Memorial Hall Centenary Celebrations
Ipswich Mayor, Cr Teresa Harding; Group Captain Iain Carty; Ipswich RSL Sub-Branch President, Mr Michael Blaine; veterans; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; girls and boys.
I too acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands around Ipswich, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
Graeme and I are delighted to join the Ipswich RSL Sub Branch and the Ipswich community in celebrating the significance of the Ipswich Soldiers Memorial Hall, almost 100 years to the day since our State’s 13th Governor, Sir Matthew Nathan, first declared it officially open.
Back on that hot November day in 1921, when the people of Ipswich gathered for the official opening, they were not only celebrating the Hall’s successful completion, but also the end of a long, devastating war.
The same spirit of determination and togetherness that helped them through tragedy and hardship saw this Hall emerge from an idea to reality.
The local RSL, soldiers, and residents united to help build this unique, functional space, through significant fund-raising efforts, and a driving passion to construct a place that would have a lasting positive impact on their city.
As Governor Nathan said in his opening speech, “There was one thing a memorial to the dead should be—it should remain alive…”
These words still resonate today, because alongside important events such as the annual Anzac Day and Remembrance Day commemorations held here, the Ipswich Soldiers Memorial Hall has always played host to a range of broader activities and social events.
As Governor Nathan also commented, it was designed to be a memorial for respectful “joyousness”, not for “gloom”.
This is therefore a rare and treasured building that has statewide significance and is appropriately listed on our State’s Heritage Register.
I thank the Ipswich Sub Branch of the RSL, whose members not only promoted the Hall’s creation in the first place, but who have been brilliant custodians, helping to preserve it with such care, for future generations.
Since this RSL sub branch was first established, back in September 1917, it has worked tirelessly to assist veterans and serving Defence Force members in the Ipswich region, and these highly valued efforts are truly commendable.
Finally, I thank the people of Ipswich for demonstrating the same community fellowship so evident 100 years ago. I know you are rightly proud of your beautiful, historic city, and the important role its people have played in the defence of our nation.
As Governor, and joint Patron, with Graeme, of RSL Queensland, it is my immense privilege to now unveil a centenary commemorative plaque, and to wish the Ipswich Soldiers Memorial Hall a very happy birthday! Thank you.