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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 22475

Address at the Opening of the Temora Runway Temora Aviation Museum, Temora

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: 16/09/2006

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 22475

Thank you very much David, Mrs Margo Lowy, the Mayor, my parliamentary colleagues Kay Hull and Ian Armstrong and very importantly, indeed most importantly, I acknowledge the presence of veterans of World War II, of the war in Korea and in Vietnam because today more than anything else is a salute to that remarkable band of men who did so much for all of us in the darker days of World War II. And anybody who has any recall of World War II will remember that extraordinary remark of Winston Churchill's that never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. And the men gathered here today, the returned airmen gathered here today, are part of that great tradition that was honoured in that evocative and forever remembered phrase.

Can I also say on behalf of all of you how much we are in the debt of David Lowy, his wife and all of the others who poured so much energy and enthusiasm into this aviation museum. We are, all of us, very proud of the aviation history of this country. We remember its critical role in war, but we also remember the way in which, in a vast country, we know how important civil aviation and anything to do with aviation has been to the history and the navigation and the opening up of the vast expanses of Australia.

And there is something very evocative about a gathering in a regional country town on a beautiful Saturday morning, in which we principally pay tribute to the heritage of the airmen of Australia, but we also in the process acknowledge the great importance of aviation generally, especially to rural communities.

And this runway, which has been a joint project of the local council and of the Federal Government, and I pay great tribute to the Mayor and the citizens of Temora; I apologise on behalf of myself and my 24 predecessors as Prime Minister of Australia that it's taken so long for one of us to get here, but I do pay tribute to the local community for the energy that it has poured into this project.

It's wonderful to see so many people here and it is a reminder of that great community cement, the great volunteer Australian spirit that keeps so many of our communities together. Life in rural Australia and country Australia is never easy and I listened very carefully Mr Mayor to what you had to say about the weather challenges of this district. And the concerns of this district have been forcefully communicated to me by Kay Hull and others over a long period of time and so they should, because those of us who live in the cities often don't fully appreciate the vagaries and the heartache and the heartbreak of country life.

But today is an occasion to, above everything else, to honour the service of a wonderful band of men who showed exemplary courage when it was needed and did enormous credit and brought great honour to their country, but even more importantly played a crucial role in turning back an horrific threat to our way of life.

But it's also for me an opportunity, on your behalf, to give thanks to David and to his wife, who are in relation to this museum, wonderful exemplars of the generosity and public spirit and commitment to Australia of a wonderful family, the Lowy family, that has contributed so much in so many different ways to our nation. David's wonderful infectious enthusiasm for flying is obvious and I was fascinated with the story of how he learnt to love it so much from his boyhood experiences at Dover Heights. And it is very nice that his mother and father are both with him today.

But to you David and to your wife Margo and to everybody else who's been associated with this museum, I want to thank you for the contribution that you have made to commemorating the deeds of a wonderful band of men and also bringing special vitality and activity to a wonderful country community.

So it is in that spirit and with that respect in mind that I not only thank you but I have great pleasure in declaring open this new runway. Long may it serve the interests of the people of Temora and surrounding districts and long may this museum bring great joy, good remembrances, but above all, serve as a wonderful memorial to a group of men to which all of us owe so much.

Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript 22475