Saturday, 9 April 2022

It is my great pleasure to be with you this evening for the 2022 ANZAC Dinner.

I also acknowledge the strong relationship your RSL Sub-Branch has with the office of Governor, and note that my distinguished predecessor visited twice in recent years.

I thank you for the opportunity to continue this relationship, to meet with your members and to learn more about the local veterans’ community.

I was heartened to learn that your membership has tripled since 2018, and now includes about 85 people, including a number of affiliate members.

It’s great to see RSL branches broadening their communities by giving veterans’ families, friends and other people the opportunity to be part of the Sub-Branch, supporting its important work and strengthening it for the future.

The veterans in the room this evening have served in a range of conflicts. In particular, I acknowledge World War II veteran, Mr Howard Hendrick.

I also acknowledge two World War II veterans unable to join us this evening - Mr Wally Miller and Mr Les Voight, who recently turned 100 years old.

I know Howard, Wally and Les are treasured members of your community.

Later this month we will mark ANZAC Day, an important time to remember the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women, especially those who have died in action or suffered great hardship, to protect our way of life.

The memory of local heroes who lost their lives in World War I, and those who served in World War II and later conflicts, are indelibly etched in the Loxton Rotunda, and honoured on the War Memorial.

Of course, Loxton has another unique feature which pays tribute to South Australian servicemen and women – its street names.

About 50 streets are named after World War II Victoria Cross recipients, South Australian nurses who died in service, and conflicts where South Australians served with distinction.

Tomorrow at the Mardi Gras Appreciation Service it will be my honour to speak a little more about my grandfather’s cousin, my first cousin twice removed, Sister Patricia Cashmore, after whom one of these streets is named.

Patricia was a military nurse who died in 1944 while travelling on a troopship which was sunk on the way from Africa to Burma.

I look forward to seeing some of you there.

Friends

Thank you to the RSL Sub Branch committee, and its many members, for supporting local veterans, educating younger generations and keeping the Anzac spirit alive.

I am pleased to see that you have successfully overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19 over the past two years, to remain a strong, vibrant and dedicated community.

Finally, I wish you all the very best for your ANZAC commemorations later this month.

Lest we forget.