Queensland Schools' ANZAC Commemoration Service 2023
Our Premier, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk MP; representing the Leader of the Opposition, Federal Member for Brisbane, Mr Stephen Bates MP; representing the New Zealand High Commissioner, Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Kelly; representing the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Councillor Lisa Atwood; senior representatives of our defence forces, RSL Queensland and Legacy Brisbane; distinguished guests; students.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, pay my 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.
Today we meet in this special place to remember all those who have worked to keep our country safe, and to reflect on a spirit of service that has helped shape the values and ideals to which we aspire.
The ANZAC story began at dawn, 108 years ago, when Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the beach at Gallipoli in Turkey to commence a military campaign that was meant to be quick and decisive.
Instead, the battle continued for eight long months, and, by the end—of the 60,000 Australians who fought there—over 8,000 had died, and 18,000 had been wounded.
Yet, from this failed military campaign, and the immense sadness it caused—both on the battlefields and at home—the Gallipoli expedition, and other campaigns fought during the First World War, created a powerful legacy that has lived on over the years.
Additional chapters were added by the Second World War, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and with each subsequent conflict—and now, ANZAC Day is a time when we acknowledge and thank all the members of our Defence Forces who have served our country, whether in war, or in peacekeeping operations.
Another word for a legacy is a gift—something precious that is passed down across the generations, and has made a lasting impact on the world.
The ANZAC gift is not something we can touch or see.
It is represented by the way these soldiers—who faced extreme difficulties and hardships—demonstrated admirable qualities of courage, tenacity, inventiveness and friendship—and transmitted their story across the seas and across the years.
This legacy does not glorify war, but highlights the service of those who fought for peace, who were prepared to give their own lives to help others.
And this priceless gift is reinforced and continued by the way we honour this memory, draw strength from it in times of uncertainty and unrest, and use it as an exemplar of how we conduct ourselves and treat others.
Even though the Gallipoli battle may seem distant— it is so important we carry the story forward into the future.
We can do this most effectively by paying our respects on ANZAC Day itself, and by learning more about the events and people who have shaped our nation’s history.
Tomorrow, in communities across our State and country, people will gather at dawn at memorials and shrines to commemorate ANZAC Day, and pay tribute to former and current military personnel as they parade.
This annual tradition began on the 25th of April 1916—exactly one year after the landing at Gallipoli—and I am proud to say was first suggested by Queenslanders, and is continued today by the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee, of which—as Governor—I am Patron.
We can also visit one of our State’s many museums, libraries and galleries and learn more by seeing their precious original military artifacts, or by visiting an exhibition that brings our unique history to life.
Most importantly, we can honour this legacy by sharing this most significant of national stories—a story that belongs to all of us, and that will continue to unite and inspire us in the years ahead.
I encourage you to hold this gift, this legacy, with pride, reassured by the knowledge that it can be relied on to provide guidance when times are challenging.
For this, for service, and sacrifice—We Will Remember Them.
Lest We Forget.