Speech at the Logan Central Anzac Day Service

25 April 2014

Speech given at the Logan Central Anzac Day Service on 25 April, 2014

On this most meaningful day can I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the lands on which we meet and pay my respects to elders past and present. And can I also thank and acknowledge:

  • Ken Heard OAM, President Logan and Districts RSL

  • Desley Scott MP, state Member for Woodridge

  • Mayor Pam Parker

  • Councillor Russell Lutton, Deputy Mayor of Logan City

  • Barry Adlam, Maori battalion

  • All of the serving and retired service men and women

  • And everyone gathered here on such an important day, including the schools and groups and all the young people who will carry this tradition forward, and pass it on to their own children in time

Some of you will know that at 430 in the morning ninety-nine years ago today, a young man named Frederick Pope was among the first to dash ashore at Gallipoli. His third brigade was the covering force for the ANZAC landing. It helped establish and defend the front line on that beach, on a sacred peninsula with a name now inscribed on the hearts of every Australian and every New Zealander. 

The third brigade was made up of Pope’s 9th battalion as well as the 10th, 11th and 12th. His was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the first world war; sent to Egypt soon after it was called. 

Between the day Pope ran onto the beach and the evacuation later in 1915, his battalion alone lost 236 men and 390 were wounded. Pope himself was shot in the shoulder on that first day, and later gassed in France and Belgium. 

He survived these wounds, and fought on until the War's end, in some of its most important engagements.

He lived to settle locally in Woodridge in 1923 with his new bride, where a daughter still lives today. Some of you are aware that that house is just around the corner from where we gather now. He left there each day to work as a timber getter and poultry farmer. He was living there when he put his hand up again for service in another World War; the second, so soon after the first. 

Frederick Pope’s memory remains in the records and pamphlets and photos that have been so lovingly maintained. And his memory endures each time we pay our respects on Anzac Day to all the diggers, from two nations, throughout time.

Being among the first onto the beach at Gallipoli, and being a local man, Pope has special significance for those of us who, like him, have made a home and a life in these suburbs.

I thought of him earlier this month when I visited Australian troops at our Al Minhad base in the United Arab Emirates. And when I knelt to honour the Lighthorsemen among the white crosses at the Beersheba war cemetery in Israel.

For us, Frederick Pope is one symbol of every courageous Australian service man and woman. As it was famously said of the unknown soldier: he is all of them; and one of us. By keeping his memory alive we honour all of them - in graves around the world. And we honour the contribution made by veterans who are still with us, from too many conflicts, and those who serve today.

There are many thousands of stories like Frederick Pope’s. We mark and honour them not to glorify war, but toreflect upon their selflessness and sacrifice – the two most admirable and most honourable of all human qualities.

We remember all of those who serve, and have served, the country we love and the causes we cherish. In Gallipoli but also in theatres around the world.

Let’s reflect on these words, that: “Time dims the memory of ordinary events, but not great events. In a nation’s history, great events – whether in peace or war – live in our memories regardless of time.”

Because the day Frederick Pope, and thousands of his mates, landed on the beach at Gallipoli 99 years ago is one of these times. He is all of them; he is one of us. As the story of our community and of our country inches forward, we will remember them.

Lest we forget.