November 11, 2019
Any thoughts that interest in Remembrance Day would fade away after last year’s Centenary commemorations were put to rest on Monday with strong turnouts at events across the South Burnett.
Remembrance Day services were held from Blackbutt to Boondooma.
There was a change in tradition in Kingaroy, with this year’s event shifted from the Memorial Park Rotunda to the grounds of Kingaroy State High School to coincide with the official opening of the school’s new Memorial Wall.
Major Craig Campbell, son of South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell, was the guest speaker at the Kingaroy Remembrance Day ceremony.
Major Campbell is a former student of Kingaroy State High School so it was fitting that he returned to the grounds for the official opening of the school’s new Wall Of Remembrance.
In his address, Major Campbell said his decision to join the Australian Defence Force was made while he was at KSHS when music teacher and Vietnam veteran Laurie Case introduced him to Army life via the Cadet band.
“The memorial being opened today symbolises the connections between past and future generations,” Major Campbell said.
Plaques honouring former students from the school will be added to the wall over time.
The first plaque recognises the service of former student Edgar Raymond Perrett who was killed in action on May 14, 1943, when the hospital ship ‘Centaur’ was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine about 30 nautical miles off the southern tip of Moreton Island.
A large contingent of students sat on the lawn in front of the memorial as the commemorations unfolded.
Kingaroy-Memerambi RSL Sub-Branch Board member and past KSHS student Elgan Leedie – a Wakka Wakka Elder and Australian Army veteran – did the Welcome To Country and played a lament on didgeridoo.
His grandfather, Robert George Aitken, was killed in action during World War I at Passchendaele.
Scots piper Major Ross Page played as wreaths were laid on the school’s memorial in front of the Wall of Remembrance.
In Nanango, a group of about 60 local residents gathered at the Cenotaph on the corner of Henry and Drayton streets for a Remembrance Day service led by celebrant Lowrian Redsell.
Local Catholic priest Fr Chukwudi Chinaka, representing Nanango’s combined churches, delivered the opening and closing prayers, while Nanango RSL president Bert Stevens and vice-president Chas Kemp ensured the proper formalities were observed.
Representatives from organisations as diverse as Nanango State High School, Nanango police, Cr Roz Frohloff, Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington (represented by Belinda Pennell from her electorate office), the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club, the Citizens Auxiliary and many more laid wreaths.
Because of fires in the region, Nanango SES were an apology, but RSL officials said they were sure everyone understood and wished the group’s members well.
The service concluded with renditions of the national anthems of Australia and New Zealand.
Afterwards, everyone who attended the morning’s commemoration was invited to the nearby RSL for refreshments.
About 150 people assembled at Boondooma Homestead for this year’s Remembrance Day commemoration.
Another 15 plaques of World War I servicemen who worked at Boondooma Station were added to the memorial wall near the historic homestead.
Cr Ros Heit, husband Kerry and son Pete were special guests at the commemoration as Kerry’s grandfather, Albert William Heit, was one of the soldiers whose names were added to the wall.
Albert fought in Belgium and France and survived the war, despite being gassed.
A highlight of the commemoration was a moving performance by Louise Winton who sang “My Grandfather’s Bugle” and “Simpson Of Gallipoli”.
[Photos: Heit family]