Kokoda Day: Deeds not Words

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Kokoda Day Speech by Charlie Lynn MLC at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway, Concord – 3 November 2014

Today we commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the day the Australian flag was raised by our troops after they had recaptured the village of Kokoda. This ceremony would never have happened if our allied naval forces had not thwarted Japanese plans for a seaborne invasion of Port Moresby in the battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 and the battle of Midway in June 1942.

Japanese plans for the capture of Port Moresby were continually disrupted by the heroic actions of our fighter and bomber pilots who continually bombed Rabaul and the Japanese landing fleets on the northern beaches at Buna and Gona. Our coastwatchers and commandos were instrumental in reporting and harassing Japanese plans and movements.

This left them with the only option of a land assault via a series of unknown native tracks connecting remote native villages across the Owen Stanley Ranges – to become known as the Kokoda Trail. [Read more…]

Loss of HMAS Sydney – Speech by Charlie Lynn at the Cenotaph, Sydney

71 years ago today HMAS Sydney died fighting.

The Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney and her gallant crew were lost shortly after sunset on 19 November 1942 off the Western Australian coast.  The ultimate fate of HMAS Sydney remained a mystery until 2008. Today we know that the shattered hull of HMAS Sydney lies on the bed of the Indian Ocean 1n 2500 metres of water, 240 off Shark Bay.

Nine months before the ship and her crew met their fate they marched past this very cenotaph. They had just returned from distinguished service in the Mediterranean in which she had inflicted disproportionate loss on enemy navies.

One of those who marched through Sydney on his return from the Mediterranean was Stoker James Stuart of Redfern.  He had acquired a bosun’s call from HMAS Sydney and left the instrument with his family. He never returned to collect his souvenir and today it is in the collection of the Hornsby RSL.

HMAS Sydney had been launched in 1934, one of three light cruisers ordered by the Australian government as part of an expansion of the Royal Australian Navy. The others were HMAS Perth (sunk in Sunda Strait in 1942) and HMAS Hobart (badly damaged but survived the war) and the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (sunk near Sabo Island at Guadalcanal). [Read more…]

2008 Victory in the Pacific Speech by the Chief of Army, General Ken Gillespie AO DSC CSM

The 2008 Victory in the Pacific (VP Day) Service was conducted at the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway at Concord on 15 August 2008.

The keynote speaker for the commemorative service was the Chief of the Army, Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie AO DSC CSM. 

It is an honour to be here with you today as we pause to reflect on the very real sacrifices and fabulous achievements of the Australian people in their contribution to the Allies’ Victory in the Pacific in the Second World War.

On August 15, 1945, Prime Minister Chiefly announced to the nation that the Japanese had agreed to unconditionally surrender, and as a consequence, the Second World War was over.  Australians reacted to the surrender in a tremendous mood of joy, with spontaneous celebrations breaking out all over the nation.   For a jubilant Australia wildly celebrating on 15 August one thought was paramount.  The war was over.  [Read more…]