For over 100 years Australians have been involved in conflicts in an effort to preserve our democracy, our freedom and our way of life.

These conflicts have included the Boer War, WW1, WW2, Korean War, Malayan Emergency, Vietnam War, Indonesian Confrontation, Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq and service in peacekeeping forces from 1947 to the present day.

Repeatedly, Australian service men and women have proudly distinguished themselves by answering the call of our Allies, and have built a reputation for bravery, skill and sacrifice.

Here today, on ANZAC Day, we reflect upon the dedication of these brave men and women who sacrificed so much. We solemnly honour and pay respect to their bravery and courage. We honour their heroism, tenacity, and resilience.

Specifically today, we mark the 103rd anniversary of ANZAC landing at Gallipoli during the First World War, but this year we also mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice, the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bismark Sea and the final beach battles of Buna and Sanananda which pushed the enemy further from Australian Shores. It has also been 50 years since the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive and the battles of Baria and Beb Hoa.

We remember all the men and women who died or were injured while serving our country during these and all conflicts past and present.

We remember and give thanks to those servicemen and women’s families and loved ones who continue to impacted by their service to our country …

… and, in remembering, we commit ourselves to peace, understanding and tolerance because that is what our fallen fought for.

I believe our city is a wonderful example of how people of all backgrounds and beliefs can live together harmoniously, accepting and respecting each other, with understanding and tolerance.

I would like, today, to pay tribute to and thank the RSL for the work that they do supporting and honouring all those who have sacrificed so much serving our country and in support of our broader community.

As part of our commemoration today I would also like to pay my respect to three former Alderman or Councillors who served in our armed forces and who we have remembered by the naming of parks and a walk in their honour.

Gunner Francis Eric Channon – Frank was sent to the Western Front in France in WW1 at age 23 where he kept a diary about his experiences. A variety of Frank Channon’s wartime memorabilia, including his diaries, are held at Chatswood library where a large portrait of him is also on display. Frank was an elected alderman (now known as a councillor) from 1940-1944 and played a key role in having this Garden of Remembrance established in Chatswood, arranging for the Roses of Picardy which formed the core of the garden where we stand today, to be imported from the WW1 battlefields. The walkway between Chatswood Bowling Cub and the railway line just to our West was named the Frank Channon Walk in his memory.

Donald Alexander Campbell – here in Willoughby we also have Campbell Park, named after Donald Campbell, Alderman of Willoughby from 1937-40, and a resident of Beaconsfield Road, Chatswood. Alderman Campbell died, after being taken prisoner of war, in Sandakan Camp, Borneo in 1945.

Gregory Bartels AM – more recently I was proud to have officiated at the naming of Greg Bartels Park, after former Mayor Bartels. Greg served in the Australian Navy during WW2 on HMAS Shropshire, co-incidentally the very same ship as my own Grandfather.

Of course, these are just three local stories of Australians who gave so much. We remember them today, as we remember all of our past servicemen and women, from all conflicts in which they have served; and as we today pay special tribute to our current servicemen and women, serving here and abroad.

Lest we forget.

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