Camden Remembers
Soldiers' Memorial Macarthur Park
A glimpse of Anzac Day 2011

The 2011 winners of the essay competition were Ella Dicello and Madeline Mitchell, both in year 6 at Camden Public School and Darcey Christl age 8 from St Paul's Primary School. Their essays are published here along with the Address given at the the Main Service of Remembrance and Photographs of the day.

Anzac Day Main Service Address

by Major S M Pemberton, 2IC School of Military Engineering, Royal Australian Engineers.

Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, young people and children; It is a great privilege to be with you today and represent the Australian Defence Force on ANZAC Day here in Camden. I would especially like to thank The President and Members of the Camden RSL - for giving me the opportunity to join you for your ANZAC Day Ceremonies.

Major Stu Pemberton (Photo Ray Herbert)
Major Stu Pemberton
We meet here today, not to glorify war or praise victors, but to remember those who have served and are serving our country during times of conflict and crisis, and to reflect upon their selfless sacrifice.

On this day, in 1915, a group of volunteer Australian and New Zealand soldiers found themselves wading ashore before dawn at a small beach on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. Many of these soldiers were only teenagers, some as young as 16. All were anxious to prove their courage and national identity. Over the eight months following the landing, those young ANZAC's underwent a 'trial by ordeal'. In those terrible battles, Australians earned a reputation for courage and endurance. Sadly, more than 10,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers were killed at Gallipoli. The experience drew Australians closer together as a nation and established the national character.
As we have seen recently with the tragic floods in Queensland and Victoria, our natural disposition is to stick together in adversity and support each other.

I would ask you today to please remember the 23 soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan since 2001.

ANZAC Day is a time for us all to reflect on the qualities of past generations of Australians who in hardship displayed courage, discipline, self-sacrifice, self-reliance, resourcefulness and mateship. ANZAC Day is not merely a date, or some remote campaign, but rather a Spirit - "The ANZAC Spirit" forged at Gallipoli and hardened on the Western Front. Even as the numbers of ex-servicemen and women grow smaller, the spirit of ANZAC, which was bequeathed to us from battlefields long ago, will live on because it is a reflection of the very heart of our nation. This is why Australians (old and new) come together every ANZAC Day. We do it to remember the ANZAC's and their achievements.

Laurence Binyon reminds us, in the fourth verse of his poem "The Fallen" that;
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

When you remember those brave soldiers who went off to war in 1915 you should remember them as the young Australians that the majority of them were. Remember also that so many of them did not survive to become veterans.

As I stand here today I am delighted to see so many young people, many of whom would be the same age as "The Diggers" who went off to fight on Gallipoli. I am reminded that a few years ago a veteran asked me if I thought today's young people would be tough enough to have endured the rigours of Gallipoli or the privations endured by the defenders of Tobruk. Would they have the physical stamina required to fight on the Kakoda Trail or the mental toughness displayed by our troops in Vietnam?

It would be too easy to have simply replied "no" and add that the youth of today are soft and selfish and are unwilling to make any sacrifices. That they spend too much time watching TV and playing computer games. I might point out the thoughtless acts of vandalism and Graffiti that has been prevalent in recent years and have been attributed to young people.

However, I am fortunate to have served with many young soldiers on operations overseas and have witnessed first hand what today's young people are capable of. I have seen them work 48 hours under fire to build a Patrol Base in Iraq. I have seen their acts of bravery and we have all proudly read of the actions of two young Australians; Mark Donaldson and Ben Roberts-Smith both VC winners in Afghanistan.

My answer therefore was (and remains) an unequivocal YES! Our young people are very capable of honouring the ANZAC tradition. They do have strength of character and an abundance of energy and endurance. They are intelligent, mentally robust and thoughtful. As I speak to you here today a new generation of our young people are serving our country in troubled locations overseas, including Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands. Their spirit is in the very best traditions of our ANZAC forefathers. And their willingness to put themselves in harms way for our safety should make us all very proud of our young people.

Finally - not long ago - I was in uniform collecting my sons from Mawarra Public School when a young boy approached me and quite out of the blue said "Thank you for serving our country" My reply now (as it was then) was that is a sincere pleasure - especially in Australia where people demonstrate utmost respect and support for our Defence Force.
Thank you.

What Anzac Day Means to Me by Ella Dicello and Madeline Mitchell
Camden Public School.

Ella Dicello (r) and Darcey Christl receiving their award from Camden Mayor Chris Patterson
and Iain Richard-Evan
(Photo Ray Herbert)

ANZAC Day as sad as it could be
we have to remember them for all eternity
For what they did and what they have done
They fought they cried and some have died
In memory of the diggers who fought for us
To keep our country safe
They are the Anzacs
We will remember them
Lest we forget

What Anzac Day Means To Me by Darcey Christl
St Pauls Primary School

Darcey Christl reading her poem at the Anzac Day Service (Photo Ray Herbert)

We love Anzac day with all our might,
even though those soldiers fought a very big fight.
We know what Anzac day means for us;
it means love, it means trust.
We hope we do not forget this,
and we hope that you do not too,
because those soldiers fought that very big fight,
for me and for you.

Anzac Day 2011 in picture (photos Ray Herbert & Steve Robinson)
Treasures on Argyle won the shop front display award