ANZAC Day 2015

In Parliament - Thursday, 26 March 2015

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (12:38:35): I also rise to speak to the centenary of ANZAC motion and commend the member for Fisher for moving that motion today. The centenary of ANZAC is a moment for deep reflection in our communities about the meaning of service and sacrifice, not just at Gallipoli. In my own electorate of Davenport, an ANZAC vigil will begin at 6.30pm on Friday 24 April, and services on ANZAC Day will be held at Blackwood, Coromandel Valley and Flagstaff Hill.

The Coromandel Community Association and the Blackwood RSL will also host Rebecca Watt and her jazz band, who will play war songs, and the National Trust of Coromandel Valley will erect information boards and a space for children and adults to learn about the history and meaning of the ANZAC ceremony. The Blackwood Freemasons and the Coromandel Rotary Club and Lions Club and many others have made funding or in-kind contributions for this special day.ANZAC Day is an opportunity for us all to show our gratitude for the freedom we enjoy and to recognise that our freedom comes as a result of the extreme sacrifice that men and women from Davenport and from other places in our state and nation have made. Over 60,000 Australian men were killed and over 156,000 men were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner in the Great War.

Recently, the vice president of my local RSL in Blackwood, David Matthews, gifted his father's medals to the Australian War Memorial. Captain Lionel Matthews' story is deeply moving, and I wish to share it with the house today. Captain Matthews was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Borneo and interred in the Sandakan prisoner of war camp. At Sandakan, he became leader of the underground resistance movement. He was executed by the Japanese on 2 March 1944.

As is well known to this house, Sandakan is often regarded as one of the worst of the Japanese prison camps. At the end of the war, some 2,345 allied prisoners had died at Sandakan in the death marches or through torture, malnutrition or through mere exhaustion. Only six Australians survived the camp, all of whom escaped.

Captain Matthews was awarded the George Cross and the Military Cross. Japanese Lieutenant-Colonel Tatsuji Suga said, when executing Captain Matthews, 'I have just executed the bravest man I know.' Before he was executed, Captain Matthews was brutally tortured, and official war records show that during the ordeal he steadfastly refused to make admissions that would implicate or endanger the lives of other men. The dedication on the war memorial in Blackwood reads: 'Their name liveth for ever more.' Lest we forget.