Eternal flame AWM


I would like to acknowledge the Larrakia people and pay my respects to their elders past and present.

And can I acknowledge all the serving men and women in our presence today and thank them for their service.

And on this Anzac Day particularly can we remember those in Ukraine and particularly Ukrainian Australians right around the country.

We meet on this day every year to acknowledge the service of those who wear our nation’s uniform.

And to commemorate the sacrifices, the ultimate sacrifice of more than 100,000 Australians, while wearing it.

We gather at this moment of the day before the rising of the sun, when 107 years ago the earliest Anzacs came to Gallipoli.

As the dawn breaks, we try to imagine their anxiety, their fear, their anticipation, and their total commitment to mission, where on a distant beach on the other side of the world they first met war.

Just over 80 years ago, at a later hour of the morning, war came here, right here, to this place.

In this very place, people could hear the noise of the aircraft.

In this place, people witnessed the explosions of the bombs.

Around us, more than 230 people died in the bombing of Darwin.

And right behind me is the final resting place of 88 Americans who perished aboard USS Peary as it sank in Darwin Harbour.

Darwin is where war first met Australia in the Pacific theatre, where John Curtin located our national interest and devoted our national energy and our national resource.

In the eighty years since, Territorians have continued to know war.

Jack Richardson lost his life in Korea.

Reg Hillier in Vietnam.

And Scott Palmer in Afghanistan.

The names of these three along with the scores of Territorians who are inscribed on the Cenotaph, their sacrifice burns bright.

It illuminates the nation.

And it reminds us that to wear our national uniform is an act of the highest service; service in war, service in peacekeeping, service in providing humanitarian relief, both abroad and at home.

And that those who wear our nation’s uniform do so with a willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice means theirs is a magnificent service for which all of us are deeply grateful.

Lest we forget.


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