On Thursday, 10 December, 2015 a plaque was unveiled by His Excellency The Honourable Hieu Van Le AO, Governor of South Australia, and proud ‘Rat of Tobruk’, Mr Bill Corey OAM, past President of the 2nd/43rd Battalion Association. The plaque is dedicated to the memory of those who have served and who made the ultimate sacrifice.
It was laid at the base of the Aleppo pine located in the south eastern corner of Government House. This pine is descended from the original Lone Pine on Gallipoli and was planted at Government House on 10 August, 1998 by then Governor, His Excellency Sir Eric Neal AC CVO and Mr Corey. Sir Eric was also at the plaque unveiling.
The event saw a rare gathering of Rats of Tobruk, Mr Bill Corey, Mr Dean Adams OAM, and Mr Reg Verrall who were joined by family and friends of the 2nd/43rd Battalion Association at what was a poignant unveiling ceremony.
The Governor spoke about his appreciation for Australia’s veterans and for those who are currently serving in the Australian Defence Force. He also spoke about the profound symbolism of the Lone Pine, particularly in this centenary year of the Gallipoli landings. He thanked Mr Corey and Sir Eric for planting it back in 1998.
Mr Corey delivered a moving response to the Governor, remembering his mates who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who died in other theatres of war. Mr Corey also expressed his admiration for the Governor and Mrs Le for the contribution they have made to South Australia, and his gratitude to the Governor for permitting the plaque to be placed with the pine for current and future generations to admire.
The plaque was funded by a grant from the Hon Martin Hamilton-Smith MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.
In Conversation with Bill Corey OAM at the Narratives of Way Symposium.