Anzac Day is always a day of commemoration, but this year the Centenary of Anzac allows the electorate of Bradfield to mark this vital anniversary in even more meaningful ways.
Our local area has a long and proud connection to the Anzac story. Research by the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society has identified more than 1,600 men and women with links to the Ku-ring-gai area who served in WWI.
This Anzac day, as we remember all those who sacrificed so much, there are a few famous Bradfield residents with their own special Anzac stories.
The famous Australian war historian, Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean ‘CEW Bean’ wrote the majority of his works whilst living in Lindfield – a suburb that was his home for more than 30 years.
According to the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, Bean’s accounts of the War ‘redefined the writing of war histories because they recorded what actually happened on the battlefield, not what was perceived to have happened’. In Bean’s own words, he would record ‘the bare and uncoloured story’ of the men of the AIF.
Bradfield can also lay claim to counting one of its residents as the highest ranking Australian to be awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) in The Great War. The VC is the highest decoration for gallantry and heroism “in the face of the enemy”.
Major Blair Wark VC, DSO (Distinguished Service Order) – whose connection to Ku-ring-gai occurred in the post war years when he lived at 61-63 Pentecost Avenue, Pymble – was one of only 64 Australians awarded a VC between 1914 and 1918.
In order to preserve the Anzac stories for future generations the Federal Government established its Centenary of Anzac grants programme. In total nearly $125,000 of funding has been allocated to ten organisations to support eleven projects across our electorate.
A specially convened Bradfield Working Group – under Major Rod White as Chairman and Lieutenant Ken Broadhead, as Deputy Chair – worked tirelessly with other community leaders reviewing submissions and making recommendations on appropriate projects.
A very diverse range of projects has been funded. They include plinths and memorial plaques in schools and RSL branches; cultural programmes and concerts telling the stories of war; and a major research project from the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society.
These projects will complement the wider series of commemorative activities that have been developed throughout our electorate to celebrate Anzac Day and the Centenary.
Lest we forget.
Paul Fletcher MP is the Federal Member for Bradfield.