PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 7957


Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/03/1990

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 7957

Lord Mayor of Perth,
Mayor of Fremantle,
Minister for Police, Graham Edwards,
Parliamentary Colleagues,
Men and Women of the Royal Australian Navy,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
We are here today to farewell the crew of HMAS SYDNEY and
HMAS TOBRUK. They have a rendezvous with history.
On 25 April, with the crew of HMAS OXLEY, they will have
the honour to represent Australia and the Royal
Australian Navy at the Dardanelles for the seventy-fifth
anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli.
Friends, Many of the great landmarks of Australia's unfolding
story are inscribed with the names of ships and fleets
from the eleven little ships of the First Fleet in 1788:
to the vast armada of ocean liners which, after 1946,
throughout the fifties and into the sixties, brought
countless thousands of families to their new home, to a
new life of hope and freedom in Australia. For most of
them, Fremantle was the first Australian port of call.
But in all this story written upon the seas, nothing
matches, as the embodiment of a young nation's pride, its
hopes and fears, the voyage undertaken 75 years ago,-and
symbolised by the journey which SYDNEY and TOBRUIK begin
today. The world had not seen such a voyage before. Its
uniqueness is evident from the vivid description of the
Official War Historian:

" From 24 October 1914, there began to arrive in King
George's Sound, the great, safe, lonely harbour of Albany
in the south-western concern of Australia, transport
after transport, carrying men, horses, guns. At 6.45 a. m.
on 1 November, the Orient l iner QRYIrD, carrying General
William Bridges, his staff, and over one -thousand men
from Melbourne, led the transports out from the harbour
heads. The twenty-six Australian transports formed up
first, in three diviaions, steaming par-& lle), with a mile
between them. The ten New Zealand ships in two similar
divisions foll~ owed, and the warships escorted. Two days
later, two Western Australian trans~ ports, out of
Fremantle, met the fleet at sea. Then, with the British
cruiser MIQTAUI five miles ahead, the IBUK1 arid
MELFIQURL1E four iilas out on either beam, and the SYD FY
far astern, the thirty-eirght transports, ( carrying some
thirty thlousand men and eight thousand liorsts) headed for
Suez en route to England".
We know, of course, that momentous decisions were even
then being made in London, which changed the plan and
led, ii~ timately, to the Dardenelles campaign.
Before new orders were received, HMAS SYDNE~ Y, on
9 November 1914, pursued and destroyed the German raider
EMDEN off the Cocos Islands, allowing the convoy to
proceed unchallenged across the Indian Ocean.
But as a result of the new orders, the voyage ended at
Alexandria on 3 December, and the ANZACS disembarked to
complete their training in Egypt.
Thus it happened, that an army of young Australians,
drawn from every part of a Commonwealth brought into
being only fourteen years previously, encamped in the
shadow of the Pyramids, in the same place where the
armies of Alexander, Caesar and Napoleon had camped
before. Six months after they sailed from home, they were to land
on Gallipoli. Nearly 8,000 of them were to fall there.
Next month, when we assemble to commemorate the
anniversary of the landing at Anzac Cove, in the
honoured presence of a significant number of First AIF
veterans, we will be thinking deeply about the true
memning of ANZAC, its meaning for the life and spirit of
this nation.
But let it be said at once:
in honouring the immense sacrifice of Gallipoli, we in no
way glorify war.
Nor do we seek to justify the immeasurable tragedy of the
First World War, still working its way through human
history, in the tremendous events re-shaping Europe

Yet there can be no doubt as to the profound and enduring
impact Gallipoli and all it stands for, has had on this
nation, from the first moment the electrifying news
reached Australia.
But I suggest, my friends and fellow Australians, that
the source of Gallipoli's power to grip the imagination
and stir the spirit of the nation, lies deeper, much
deeper, than Australian pride in courage, endurance, and
prowess in battle, deeper even than the sense of so much
loss and waste.
And I believe that the heart of its meaning can be
discerned, if we reflect for a moment on the very purpose
of our meeting here today to farewell the crews of
SYQNEY, TOQBRUK, and OXi-PY, as they leave home.
The Official War historian, the late Charles Bean, takes
us to the heart of the matter when he asks the question:
" What motives sustained the Anzacs?'
And giving his answers, he wrote this:
" The love of country in the Australians was intense-hQx
satrong, they did not realine until they werA far away
frnm their home:"
This, I believe, leads us to a deep truth about the place
of the Anzacs in the development of this nation and its
sense of national identity, its nationhood.
In those terrible years, 1914 1918, Australians, some
four hundred thousand of them by the end all volunteers
by no means, all of them born here, and fewer still
with parents born here came together; and for the first
time, shared a common endeavour, a common adventure, a
common danger, a common sacrifice not as Western
Australians or South Australians, not as Queenslanders or
Tasmanians but as Australians.
And bonding this splendid company of young Australians
together, in an unbreakable mateship, was the very fact
that they were all so far from home swept, almost
inexplicably, by great tides of history, thousands of
miles from home, thousands of miles of ocean from all
they knew and loved.
And for the first time, Australians, not just as
individuals, but as a nation, came to realise how much
they loved Australia, their home. And sixty thousand of
them were never to come home.
It is this that gives Gallipoli and all that followed its
almost unbearable poignancy.

It is this that gives it its true meaning, as a seed
event in the growth of the Australian national
consciousness, and therefore an imperishable place in the
story of our nation.
And this is something, I believe, which gives a special
meaning, an added significance, to this occasion today.
Not only to farewell the men of HMAS SYDNEY, TOBRUK and
OXLEY, and the men and women from HMAS KUTTABUL who will
sail on the TOBRUK in the wake of that memorable convoy
of 75 years ago
but to wish you safe return to the nation you
help to guard
a safe return home, to our beloved country. i : 4 7

Transcript 7957