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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 10161

UNVEILING OF SIR EDWARD "WEARY" DUNLOP MEMORIAL BENALLA BOTANIC GARDENS

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 10/11/1996

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 10161

E &O E...........


Thank you very much to Pat McNamara, the Deputy Premier of Victoria, to m colleague Lou Lieberman, to Mrs Gibson, the Chief Commissioner, . o Mr Heaney to my former Parliamentary colleague, Tom Uren, one of te many P
here to4ay, Reverend Donaldson, ladies and gentlemen.

Yesterday I had the very special privilege of calling on Ted Matthe s, who I'n the last survivor of the Australian contingent that went ashore on Gallipoli on the 25th of April 1915. He turns 100 on Monday, on Remembrance Day, an I, quite lit wa, in qwe in the experience of being able to reach out and touch so nebody wt been present at that awful moment, that awful time of both death ani destructi also a moment that has become haloed in the Australian history and fepresents
many ways things that we care and love about our nation. That littl experienci mine, just in a small way, I hope taught me to try and understand the sense of a, reverence that those whose lives were directly touched saved, influe ced and in
by " Weary" Dunlop feel about this most remarkable of all Australia


In our eams, I imagine, that " Weary" Dunlop represents what so Iany of us i like to be as Australians. He was strong, he was a champion sports an, in fact,
understand he was the first Victorian ever to play rugby union for A stralia and recall reading those chapters on his sporting prowess in Sue Evury's magnificer
biography when he cmplained rather bitterly about the unforgiving ardness of Bulli soil of the Sydney cricket ground when he first represented Au tralia in a 1
match there. He, of ourse, was also a champion boxer. He was a highly intelli
very literate, well real man. He was in the best sense of that expresion, the trn
of that expression, a man's man. He was a leader, he was compassic nate, he w;
the greatest of all Australian traditions of mateship, he was egalitaria 1. old, i
rally, had but
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When he cared and treated for people he didn't ask what school they went to, he didn't ask whether they were Protestant, Catholic or Callithumpian, he didn't ask them who they voted for, he didn't ask them what they thought about this or that thing, rather lie just treated them and cared for them and led them and inspired them because they were a fellow human being.


He represented a generation of Australians to whom all of us, particularly those who
were born too young for World War 11, but which all of us owe so much, There are
many great heroes in the Australian story, but that generation of men wvho wvent into.
captivity ir4 the darkest days of World War 11 they endured hardship and tragedy, they
travelled journeys, they wore burdens, they provided leadership that no other group of
Australians as a particular aged cohort does. And we owe them an immense depth of
gratitude. We also owe the memory of " Weary" Dunlop great reverence. Not only did he display
those lovable Australian characteristics with which we so warmly identify', but he's also
a far sighted man. At the end of World War 11 he was not one of those who said we
should turn our backs on the Asia Pacific areas. He was not someone who wanted to
live' out in hatred and so expiate some of the feelings of hostility he no doubt had about
his treatment and the treatment of his fellow Australians, but he taught us and he tells
us that the future of Australian... ( inaudible)-, cooperation and friendship with the
people of the Asian region. He became a leading light in the Asia Australia society.
He played a very active role in the Colombo plan. He was in every sense a person who
looked to the future as well as someone who remembered the past and someone who
remembered the enormous suffering of those he served.


I have only read of " Weary" Dunlop's exploits. I had the great privilege of meeting
him on several occasions. I have talked to people who knew him, who wvere treated by
him, who served with him and who loved him, And he represents to me something to
which all of us as Australians can aspire. He has that uncomplicated generosity and
decency and he had enormous strength and he had that laconic characteristic which we
hold so dear as being part of the Australian existence and the Australian personality.
He was in every sense of the expression Australian to his boot heels, And the legacy
that he has given to successive generations of Australians is a legacy that will warm
and sustain and inspire us. And it really is entirely appropriate in this lovely garden
setting, in this lovely city of Benalla here this Sunday morning, a gathering attended
properly by the men, the Dunlop men that we honour, the ex-POWs of World War 11,
but also attended by many young people, by many children who've nourished out of
remembrance this morning and have played their part. And it is an opportunity to feel
immnensely grateful for lie and it's an opportunity to feel quietly proud of the great
privilege al of us have to live in our nation Australia. And to remember that it was the
unseating courage and bravery of men like " Weary" Dunlop and all the other men who
are here today and, of course, their fellow soldiers who didn't come back and all the
others who cared for them and looked after them.


Life at the end of its consideration is about personal courage, about character, about the capacity to do the right thing to care for one another in times of travail and times of difficulty. I can't think of a figure in Australian history who has more perfectly and completely lived out that injunction to care for others and to nurse and to look after those whose circumstances are sadly tragic. " Weary" Dunlop did that and he did it in a
way that has won him the affection, not only of those he cared for and treated and preserved in life and helped back to good health, but he has also won the affection and
the gratitude and the admniration of a nation that is proud to have produced a man of
that stature and a nation that is grateful for what he did by way of exploration and
leadership. Of the many things that has been my privilege to do since becoming Prime Minister of
Australia few can match the privilege of being here this morning of saying some words
that tribute, however inadequate they are, to the memory of " Weary" Dunlop on your
behalf thanking him and thanking God for him and also on your behalf thanking the
men, the Dunlop men, that fought many died, many survived and to those who are
here today can I say to you there is a special place in the hearts of all Australians to the
POWs of World War 11. We know the sacrifices you made. We can only begin to
understand the pain that you endured, but I want you to know that a grateffi nation
salutes and respects the contribution you made to the peace and the freedom and the
tranquillity and the happiness in which Australians live in 1996.

Thank you.
 

Transcript 10161