Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Ku-ring-gai Electorate Anzac Day Services

Wahroonga ANZAC Day Service

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 18:24 :07 ): I welcome to the public gallery the Turramurra Rotarians. This year the Ku-ring-gai electorate has remembered, as it has done in past years, Anzac Day in services before and after 25 April. Those services were conducted in a number of places, including churches and schools throughout the electorate. One of those services that I attended on Sunday was at St John's Anglican Church at Gordon, which contains the Pozieres Cross returned from the World War I battlefields by theKu-ring-gai regiment. The unique service on Sunday, which emulated the kind of commemoration conducted 100 years ago, wasconducted by Father Keith Dalby, a former member ofthe Royal Australian Navy.

This year four Ku-ring-gai remembrance services were held on 25  April. Each service w as particularly well supported by young people , some of whom were wearing the decorations of a family member now deceased. The Northern Region Scouts hosted a very well-attended Dawn Service at Bicentennial Park , and Ron Seymour organised the community dusk service at the Kokoda Track Memorial in Wahroonga , each of them acknowledging the sacrifices made by many thousands of Australians in times of conflict. Between those two ceremonies were two services at the Wahroonga Memorial and Turramurra Memorial Park, which were both conducted, as they have been for the p ast 16  years, by local members of the National Servic emen's Association of Australia— or the "Nashos", as they are affectionately k nown. I will give a short tribute to our local Nashos.

The National Servicemen's Association of Australia was founde d in 1987 and is now the second ‑largest ex ‑ service organisation in Australia. It represents the 287,000 young men who were called up for service in the Navy, Army and Air Force in two schemes between 1951 and 1972. From 1951 to  1959, a ll men turning 18 on or after 1  November 1950 were required to register for the scheme . The first call-up notices were is sued on 12  April 1951. The 227,000 who were called up were intended to form the 3rd AIF , but the ceasing of hostilities in Korea meant that they were not needed.

The second Nashos scheme was int roduced in 1964 in response to Australia 's growing involvement in South-East Asia. Twenty -year-old men were required to register with the Department of Labour and National Service. From 1964  to  1972, more than 804,000 men registered for n ational service, 64,000 of whom were called up in a birthday ballot to serve in the forces . More than 15,000 of those serv ed in the Vietnam War, with 210  killed and more than 1,200 wounded. Another 150 men served in Borneo ; two of them were killed and the remainder were in support units in Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Australia.

The National Service Scheme ended in December 1972. The last N ashos marched out of camp on 14  February , which is now National Servicemen's Day. The Nashos are an important part of Australia's military history and we are inde bted to tho se men who served our country with distinction, many on foreign soil .

Despite giving up two years of their lives, those Nashos who served in Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Australia were not eligible for the repatriation benefits available to active servicemen. Those men would no doubt be forgiven if they looked on their time in the Army wit h bitterness, but instead, for the past 16  years, the Northern Sydney Sub B ranch of the Nashos has been at the forefront of Anzac Day activities and other times of remembrance in the Ku-ring-gai community. The Nashos ensure that those who did not return from the fields of war, those who returned home damaged in body and mind , and those who continue to serve today are remembered with equal pride.

Former Flight Lieutenant Brian Wright of Wahroonga, a former Spitfire pilot in World War II, is one who made it home . Our community was delighted that he was in attendance again this year at the service at the Wahroonga Memorial. Continuing their tradition of having a theme for each Anzac Day, the Nashos chose to reflect not only on t he service of Brian, but also that of his father, John , who lived in Wahroonga as well . Remarkably, John was a Captain in World War I and flew a Sopwith Sn ipe in the 4th Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps. Captain Wright was posted to Europe during the Great War, was credited with destroying four German aircraft and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during his service. He signed up again in World War II , this time with the Australian Imperial Force and ultimately became the Commanding Officer of the unit wi th the 8th Division in Malaya.

Following the fall of Singapore, he was captured by the Japanese and placed in Changi prison camp for the next 3½  years until the end of the war. My uncle Jacques, who served in the Dutch East Indies Army, also was in Changi. Given that most of them are now in their eighties, the Nashos decided that the 2018 Wahroonga and Turramurra Anzac Day services would be the last that they would conduct but, happily, the Sydney Northern Region Scouts has offered to take over. From humble beginnings and small attendances in the first year, the services conducted by the Nashos now draw many hundreds of local people on a day of solemn remembrance, which is another reason why the Nashos will not be forgotten in Ku-ring-gai.

Mr KEVIN ANDERSON ( Tamworth ) ( 18:29 :45 ): I thank the member for Ku-ring-gai, the Parliamentary Secretary for Finance, Services and Property, and welcome the Turramurra Rotarians to the New South Wales Parliament this evening. I thank the member for Ku-ring-gai for updating the New South Wales Parliament on the Anzac Day activities and commemorative services in his electorate. As a returned servicemen myself, having served six years in the Royal Australian Air Force in the mid-1980s, I know how important it is to bring this valuable information to the New South Wales Parliament so we can all share, remember and commemorate. Lest we forget.