Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Ku-ring-gai Electorate Centenary Of ANZAC Commemorations

ANZAC Tribute

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Ku-ring-gai) [12.39 p.m.]: The centenary of the ANZAC Gallipoli landing in 2015 was much anticipated in the Ku-ring-gai electorate, and it lived up to every expectation. I had the honour of marching in the official party alongside other dignitaries at the Hornsby RSL dawn service on ANZAC Day. I thank Terry James, the Hornsby RSL Sub-Branch secretary, for his invitation. As it does every year, the 226 Army Cadet Unit based at Normanhurst Boys High School did an incredible job providing the Catafalque Party for the Hornsby dawn service. The cadets' professionalism was a stand-out and a credit to them and their commanding officer, Captain Stan Hinsby. Cadet Nathan Elliot played the last post, and he has done so for many years.

My first ANZAC Day engagement was a week earlier at the ceremony conducted by the Roseville RSL Sub-Branch at the Roseville Memorial Club. Those participating in the service included the Reverend Laurel Barr from Roseville Uniting Church, Killara High School trumpeter Rhys Tirado, the Knox Old Boys Pipe Band, and a talented young violinist, Andrew Liang. Isabelle Woodforde, a senior student at Roseville College; Michael Askey, President of the Roseville RSL Sub-Branch; the 1st Lindfield Scout Group; the Roseville scouts; and John Whitworth also took part in the Roseville ceremony. On 23 April 2015 I attended Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School at Waitara for an impressive but also sombre ceremony. The event doubled as a tribute to a former student of the school, Trooper Jason Brown, an SAS soldier who sadly died in combat in Afghanistan in 2010. Jason's sister Stephanie gave a heartfelt speech—a tribute that had everyone in the room captivated, including our Governor, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley, AC, DSC.

On the eve of ANZAC Day, I had the honour of addressing the entire staff and student body of Pymble Ladies' College. I was pleased to meet principal Vicky Waters and the school leaders, including head prefect Roshana Kanagaratnam and deputy prefect Alexandra Hunter, before I spoke about the examples of service and the desire for world peace that ANZAC Day evokes. West Pymble Public School is another great school in my electorate, and I joined Principal Bronwyn Wilson for a well-coordinated ANZAC ceremony. The entirety of year six played a role in organising the event, led by captains Madeline Mamas and Jack Day, vice captains Caitlyn Putt and Bede Taylor, and naval commander Brad Smith, a father of a student at the school. The last post was played very well by Connor McKinney.

On ANZAC Day itself, as I have already mentioned, I attended the Hornsby dawn service. Later that morning I was attended two services conducted by the National Servicemen's Association of Australia, Sydney Northern Sub-Branch: the first at the Wahroonga War Memorial and the second an hour or so later at the Turramurra Memorial. I thank David Cooper, OAM, and Barney Flanagan for their flawless organisation of those events. I also thank George Katsoolis. Abbotsleigh student Megan Jones gave an inspiring speech at both ceremonies, and bugler Rhiannon Davis, as always, did a great job sounding the last post at both events.

Mr Owen Thomas was a flawless master of ceremonies, and the other men from the Nashos—Ted Webber, Malcolm Thom, Derek Bryden, Arthur Krust, John Astley, Chris Williams, Vic Seaglove and Alan Vale—did stellar jobs on the day. Wahroonga scouts and cubs did an amazing job serving breakfast at Wahroonga, and Turramurra Rotary ran the morning tea at the Turramurra Memorial. Reverend Dr Michael Stead and Father David Ranson led the prayers.

In the afternoon I was honoured to attend with other dignitaries, lay a wreath and speak at the Kokoda Track Memorial at Wahroonga. I spoke about the democracy and freedoms we enjoy in our country because of the actions of our ex-service men and women. Greg Hodgson organised the service at the Kokoda Track Memorial. Owen Thomas was again the emcee at this event. Reverend Andrew Rees, Tom Hazell, Howard Rodgers, Owen Thomas, piper Charlie Hunter and Guy Kingdon also played their parts in making the event a memorable success. On the day after ANZAC Day I was a guest of the Knox Grammar School, which in conjunction with Ravenswood School for Girls put on a magnificent parade honouring the ANZAC centenary.

The cadet parade unit, led by Senior Cadet Under Officer (CUO) Rob Truskett with CUO Lillian Wilhelm his second in charge, did an extraordinary job on the day. The lament by pipe major William Petro, the last post by Nicholas Thomson and Edward Morris, the reading of the roll of honour by school captain Harry Chapman and prayer by vice-captain Alex Cross, the benediction by Reverend Peter Robinson, and the laying of wreaths by Mark Wilson and Tom Osborn were a fitting and respectful way of honouring our ANZACs.

On the same day I attended a commemorative service at St Martins Church Killara, presided over by Reverend Matthew Heazlewood. A week later I attended a commemorative service at St John's Anglican Church at Gordon, presided over by Reverend Keith Dalby, at which a moving address was given by former ambassador, defence Minister and member for Bradfield, now Director of the Australian War Memorial, the Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson. The citizens of the Ku-ring-gai electorate will remember the centenary of ANZAC Day for the rest of their lives.