8th February 2024
Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Wahroonga) (16:35): I was honoured to join the memorial service for the eighty-second anniversary of Gemas Day, at the Suakin barracks, in Pymble, a few weeks ago. Gemas Day commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of Gemas, in the Second World War, where Australian soldiers in the 2/30th Battalion delayed the fall of Singapore. This resulted in the saving of many lives of the people who could be evacuated. We remember the 81 Australians who lost their lives in Malaya during this battle. We remember the many soldiers who fought in the battle, who were then interned as Japanese prisoners of war on the Burma railway and suffered incredibly, including my own uncle, who was in the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army. I commend the society, who commemorates Gemas Day every year at the Suakin barracks. It is important that we remember the sacrifices made by every Australian soldier so that we can live freely in this great country.