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Thursday 28 April, 2016
Source: Rob Manton, Director Veterans SA
The Anzac Centenary Memorial Walk was officially opened by His Excellency the Hon Hieu Van Le AO, Governor of South Australia, on Saturday 23 April 2016. Rat of Tobruk veteran Mr Bill Corey cut the ribbon flanked by His Excellency and the Premier of South Australia, the Hon Jay Weatherill MP.
Over 200 guests and an estimated 500 members of the public attended the opening staged in front of the black granite area of the Memorial Walk. The symbolic cutting of the ribbon saw the curtain raised on the interpretive artwork etched into the granite panels commemorating a century of service.
His Excellency reflected on the change to the boundary of Government House that was required for the Memorial Walk’s construction highlighting that the only other change had occurred in 1927 for an equally worthy project: the construction of the South Australian National War Memorial. His Excellency also reflected on his own personal experience of war and the courage of Australian soldiers saying:
‘Growing up in the midst of war in Vietnam, I’ve had first-hand experience of the horrific destruction and the brutality of the war. But I also witnessed the gallantry and sacrifice of Australian soldiers first-hand. I have seen these brave soldiers on the battlefields risking their lives to protect our family and our countrymen – people they did not even know. And behind the front line, I saw them helping the victims, nursing the wounded with their kindness and compassion.
I have a deep personal gratitude for our soldiers. And, I am so grateful to all Australian soldiers, who’ve responded to the call of the nation offering their service to protect our country and its values.’
The Premier highlighted the sacrifice and service of servicemen and women, the transformation of Kintore Avenue, and the use of locally sourced materials:
‘Years of consultation, thoughtful planning and fine workmanship have delivered this beautiful space to honour the service our State’s veterans.
It is a place for quiet reflection – where South Australians can show their appreciation for those who gave their lives so that we can enjoy the peace and freedoms we enjoy today.
The transformation of Kintore Avenue into this Memorial Walk has been extraordinary, and the project was completed using locally sourced materials including pavers from Padthaway, near Bordertown and Streaky Bay and granite from Black Hill near Mannum.
The Memorial Walk also opens up the view of Government House and its grounds to the public – providing a great addition to our historic North Terrace precinct.’
Minister Hamilton-Smith noted the Memorial Walk’s theme of ‘a memorial for all, not a few’ and emphasised the service and sacrifice of all who have been affected by conflict.
‘This Memorial Walk is for all those who have served and all who have been exposed to the traumas of war.
At either end of this Memorial Walk, embedded in the supporting pillars, you will find two quotes that summarise what we tried to achieve here.
The first, at the southern end, is from Pericles, a brilliant Greek general, orator, and politician described as ‘the first citizen’ of democratic Athens which states:
‘Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it’.
The second, at the northern end, is from Australia’s Official Historian of the First World War, Charles Bean who wrote:
‘They do not intend to be thought or spoken of as heroes. They’re just ordinary Australians’.
They may have been ordinary Australians, but they did, and continue to do, extraordinary things.’
The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of Adelaide spoke of the service of former Adelaide City Council employees who had served and praised the project as a great example of cooperation between Commonwealth, State and Local Governments.
Sir Eric Neal thanked all associated with the project including architects Grieve Gillett Dimmity Andersen, Construction contractors BMD Construction, GHD, Tract Landscape Architects, and project managers from the Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure. In particular Sir Eric thanked Ms Esther Chew and Ms Liz Little for their design work, Mr Adam Cusenza and his team from BMD who had the challenging task of delivering a completed project in a little over 5 months, and Ms Kylie O’Leary who project managed the work. Sir Eric also paid particular thanks to the Minister, Premier, and His Excellency for their support for what is South Australia’s Centenary of Anzac project.
On behalf of Veterans SA I would like to extend my thanks to the veteran community for your patience and steadfast support for this endeavour. I would also like to acknowledge the support and cooperation of members of the Adelaide City Council and Government House whose pragmatic approach enabled us to achieve a great outcome.
I trust all will enjoy the new Anzac Centenary Memorial Walk and, as I said in my remarks at the dedication ceremony, tread softly as you walk along the Memorial Walk and remember those who have served and those who continue to serve.