The Brisbane Golf Club hosted its Anzac Day Ceremony yesterday and over 140 Members attended the service. The Club’s Vice President, Deb Kember hosted the event with Member, Alistair McNee again providing the main Address. President, Mark Deuble, Director or Golf, Joe Janison and Member, Bob English also made valuable contributions The speeches and program have been re-produced below for those who were unable to attend. We again take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in putting this event together and importantly thank our Members who attended and contributed to such a special morning of reflection.
Welcome by Deb Kember
Welcome to The Brisbane Golf Club ANZAC Day Service for 2023.
I acknowledge veterans no longer with us, those amongst us and current serving members of the Australian Defence Forces.
I acknowledge those who have created our history living, working and golfing on the land on which our club stands.
- The Turrbul people who fished Moolabin Creek
- The early settlers who grazed cattle here.
- The foundation Club members who had a vison for the course we enjoy today.
Last, but by no means least I acknowledge
- Life members, committee members past and present, members, guests and staff
- All of us here taking part in our 2023 ANZAC Day service.
- Together, we pay tribute to all Australians who risked their lives serving our country in times of war and peacekeeping operations and those who are serving us today.
- Each of us bringing our own personal thoughts, connections and hopes for honourable peace around the world.
- By gathering here today we are continuing the ANZAC commemoration tradition which began in Brisbane in 1916.
- Anglican Minister Canon David Garland first honoured thousands of men killed or wounded at Anzac Cove in a solemn ceremony.
- As we know, this day has since become enshrined across Australia, New Zealand, England and in ex-patriate communities around the world, forever honouring the spirit of the first ANZACS and those who have served in the Armed Forces for us since that time.
World War I
- In World War I, the ANZACS landed on the beach in the Ari Burnu area of the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915, 108 years ago.
- 40 members of our Club served in World War I (20% of the male membership at the time).Three members lost their lives.
- Here at the Club, we instigated the Armistice Cup to honour and remember them and the competition is still in existence today.
- We also honour Associate member Grace Wilson in a women’s golf competition, which will be played in May. She served as Principal Matron of the Australian Army Hospital in Lemnos, Greece, treating over 7,000 wounded soldiers evacuated from Gallipoli.
World War II
- During WWII, Brisbane became the support base for the war effort in the Coral Sea off Cairns. Life changed for locals as the focus and many services were redirected to support the war effort
- Brisbane’s population doubled, warships and submarines crowded the banks of the Brisbane River.
- City offices and university buildings at St Lucia became military headquarters. Private homes, schools and other buildings were taken over for military.
- Here at the Club, The Australian Army requisitioned part of the course and Clubhouse.
- Australian Troops were housed on the 11th, and 12th American troops on the 1st & 9th fairways
- Between 1942 and 1945, over 12,000 service men played golf on our course using equipment donated by members.
- Almost half of the Club membership at the time saw active service during WWII.
- Since then – there have been so many conflicts in which Australians have served and sacrificed for us
- Korea (1950-1953), Malaya (1950-1960), Borneo (1963-1966) Vietnam (1965-1973), East Timor, Afghanistan (2001-2021), and Iraq
- We also commemorate the service and sacrifice of peacekeepers in the South-west Pacific, Indo -Pacific, Middle East and Korea and the Australian Defense Forces currently serving on behalf of us
- Our service today will connect us with this heritage through prayer, poetry, song and reflection.
Recessional by Mark Deuble
God of our fathers known of old Lord of our far flung battle line. Beneath whose awful hand we hold. Dominion over palm and pine -Lord God of hosts be with us yet
Lest we forget – lest we forget.
The tumult and the shouting dies. The captains and the kings depart. Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice. A humble and a contrite heart. Lord God of hosts be with us yet.
Lest we forget – lest we forget.
Commemorative prayer by Director of Golf and PGA Professional Joe Janison
God of love and liberty, we bring our thanks this day for the peace and security we enjoy, which was won for us through the courage and devotion of those who gave their lives in time of war. We pray that their labour and sacrifice may not be in vain, but that their spirit may live on in us and in generations to come. That the liberty, truth and justice which they sought to preserve may be seen and known in all the nations upon earth. This we pray in the name of the one who gave his life for the sake of the world, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lyrics of remembrance by Deb Kember
- Poetry and song writing was a popular pastime for soldiers and supporters alike, it was a way of expressing the inexpressible.
- The lyrics I share today describe the experience of our Vietnam veterans, several of whom are members of the club.
- Over 60,000 Australians were directly involved as part of an allied force led by the United States.
- From 1964 until 5 December 1972, Australian men registered for national service in the year they turned 20, some called up to join regular Army men in the conflict
- More than 500 Australians died in the war. Over 3,000 Australians were evacuated with wounds, injuries or illness.
- Australia’s involvement ended in 1973, 50 years ago this year.
- I’ll read a few verses of a song called – I was only 19.
- The lyrics are based on stories that Private Mick Storen shared about his mate who died when a mine exploded in 1969.
- On hearing the stories John Schumann – an Australian singer-songwriter turned the memories into lyrics.
- The lyrics are inscribed in the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial in Canberra.
As told by Private Storen
Mum and dad and Denny saw the passing out parade at Puckapunya –
It was a long way from cadets
The 6th battalion was next to tour and it was me who drew the card.
We did Canungra and Shoalwater before we left
And Townsville lined the footpath as we marched down to the quay
The clipping from the paper shows us young and strong and clean
And there’s me in my slouch hat with me SLR and greens
God help me – I was only 19
From Vung Tau riding Chinooks to the dust of Nui Dat
I’d been in and out of choppers now for months
And we made our tents a home, VB and pinups on the lockers
And an Asian orange sunset through the scrub
A four-week operation, when each step can mean your last one on two legs –
It was a war within yourself
But you wouldn’t let your mates down ’til they had you dusted off
So you closed your eyes and thought about somethin’ else
And then someone yelled ‘CONTACT’, and the bloke behind me swore
We hooked in there for hours then a God almighty roar
And Frankie kicked a mine the day that mankind kicked the moon
God help me – he was going home in June
- Let’s forever remember what happened.
- Let’s honour those amongst us who served.
- Let’s remind each other how lucky we are.
Commemorative address by Alistair McNee
On Anzac Day we are drawn to memorials, to marches, to moments of reflection – both in groups and privately.
We remember those who have served, those who have sacrificed and the contribution they have made to our country.
On one hand, we do not need to question ‘why’ we do this. It is obvious – to honour those who have served and continue to serve our nation, and to acknowledge the debt we will always owe them.
On the other hand, considering why we pause to reflect and remember tells us much about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be.
In 2020, Australia’s Governor General, His Excellency, General, the Honourable David Hurley recognised the service of two men who came from worlds apart and who fought in significantly different wars.
Lieutenant Tony Jensen was awarded the Medal of Gallantry for his actions on the night of May 13, 1968 when his position was overrun by 400 North Vietnamese.
Ordinary Seaman Teddy Sheean became the first member of the Royal Australian Navy & the 101st Australian to be awarded our highest honour for valour, the Victoria Cross.
Sheean was awarded the Victoria Cross when his ship HMAS Armidale, attacked by 13 Japanese aircraft was torpedoed & bombed. Following the order to abandon ship, Sheean helped to free a life-raft before scrambling back to his gun on the sinking ship.
Although wounded in the back & chest, the 18 year old sailor shot down one bomber & kept other aircraft away from his comrades in the water. He was seen still firing his guns as the Armidale slipped below the waves.
Both men set examples of bravery under fire. Their response to danger and peril continue to inspire decades later. Their service was, as is often stated, ‘in the Anzac tradition’.
We reflect on the continuation of the Anzac legacy and the characteristics we attribute to arise from it – mateship, courage, sacrifice and endurance.
I ask myself, are similar examples readily identifiable across our military history?….. Do the characteristics still matter?
I am firmly of the opinion that the answer to both questions is a resounding: Yes!
To the first question: pick a conflict, operation or mission and you’ll be able to find similar examples.
To highlight just a few.
Major Irene Drummond, the most senior of the nurses massacred on Bangka Island in 1942. Her words to her nurses as they all faced certain death, “Chin up girls, I’m proud of you and I love you” speak to her own bravery and compassion.
Courage and sacrifice – characteristics that are part of the Anzac legacy.
Captain Reg Saunders was the first Aboriginal soldier to be commissioned as an Officer in the Australian Army. The son of a veteran, he served in the Second World War and in Korea. After the Battle of Kapyong in 1951 he stated, “At last, I felt like an Anzac, and I expect there were 600 others like me.”
The Anzac legacy wasn’t etched in stone at Anzac Cove. Each generation has built upon it.
Mateship – that’s a key part of the Anzac legacy.
To the second of my questions – do these characteristics still matter?
We see them in the service of our modern veterans and those still serving. They have inherited the Anzac legacy and, through their service, have added to it and will hand it forward.
We are proud of them and we will always be there for them. It is critical that we continue to look after our veterans – caring for mates is also part of the Anzac legacy.
The characteristics are not confined to our people in uniform. They are evident today in the actions of normal Australians.
We saw many fine examples of this last year in flood-affected communities in South-East Queensland and northern New South Wales. Countless acts of bravery have occurred, most anchored in mateship in its many forms and exemplified by courage and endurance.
I sum up my reflections on the stories of Teddy, Tony, Irene and Reg – and noting that they’re representative of thousands upon thousands of others – as follows:
Who we were– in the sum of the stories of those who have served, we see common characteristics and values.
We see a continuous line from the diggers who landed at Anzac Cove, through to those who served in the Second World War, in Korea, Vietnam, on peacekeeping operations around the world and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Who we are – we see the Anzac legacy in today’s serving men and women, their families and, indeed, writ large in the community around us.
Those common characteristics and values – mateship, endurance, courage and sacrifice – are not unique to military service. Our forebears took them into uniform. But their service, experiences and sacrifices have forever embedded them in our nation’s DNA.
And, who we aspire to be – if we learn from the Anzac legacy and if we continue to live up to it, history tells us that we can overcome any challenge.
The Anzac legacy is not reflected in a single individual nor a single event. Instead, it is the sum of thousands of stories. Of ordinary Australians who, when given a job to do, got it done, did it in a way that made us proud and looked after each other during and after.
Finally, the characteristics that we take from the Anzac legacy to define us – mateship, endurance, courage and sacrifice – are inherent in Australia. They always have been. They’ve been strengthened and reinforced in conflict and on peacekeeping operations, but they have always been at our core.
We shouldn’t shy aware from these characteristics over any concern that they be viewed as ‘jingoistic’ – they are real in us.
They speak to our past, our present and our future.
To who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be.
And that should make us all optimistic for our future.
Lest we forget.
The Ode by Bob English
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
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