Anzac Day Commemorative Address 2024

Major Adam White presenting the Commemorative Address with Lt.Col. (Ret.) Hans Hietbrink OAM, President Guyra RSL sub-Branch
30th Apr 2024

Today, we gather in solemn remembrance and profound gratitude to honour the brave men and women of our region who served in the ANZAC forces. We stand here in Guyra, a town steeped in the values of community, resilience, and courage, to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and to acknowledge the enduring spirit of the ANZACs that continues to inspire our community.
The ANZAC spirit, forged on the beaches of Gallipoli and battlefields across the world, is a legacy of valour, camaraderie, and unwavering determination. It is a legacy that the sons and daughters of Guyra have upheld with honour. Our town’s history is interwoven with the stories of local heroes who answered the call of duty, leaving the rolling hills and fertile plains of our region to stand shoulder to shoulder with their comrades in the defence of freedom and justice.
As we gather here on this hallowed day of remembrance, we pay homage to the valiant souls of our town and the broader New England region, who served with unparalleled bravery and determination. Among them were the courageous members of the 33rd and 36th Infantry Battalions, units that drew heavily from the towns and rural communities of New South Wales, including our own Guyra.
The 33rd Battalion, known as the New England’s Own, was formed in January 1916 and saw extensive action on the Western Front. The men of the 33rd embodied the spirit of our region, showcasing extraordinary valour in the face of daunting adversities. Their resilience in the muddy trenches of Ypres and the brutal cold of the Somme speaks volumes of their unyielding fortitude, a characteristic that resonates with the enduring spirit of our community.
Similarly, the 36th Battalion, raised in 1916 as well, demonstrated the same indomitable spirit of the New England region. Participating in critical battles such as Messines and Passchendaele, the 36th Battalion’s members stood firm against overwhelming odds, their courage a testament to the steadfast heart of our community. Their legacy is not merely inscribed in the annals of history but is also deeply etched in the soul of our town, inspiring us to face our challenges with the same unbreakable resolve.
These brave individuals, hailing from our farms, schools, and businesses, embodied the resilience and fighting spirit that are the hallmarks of our community. They faced unimaginable challenges and adversities, yet their resolve never wavered. In doing so, they laid a foundation of courage and sacrifice that continues to define our town’s character.
Today, as we stand together to commemorate ANZAC Day, we honour not only the storied legacy of the 33rd and 36th Infantry Battalions from the Great War but also the valorous contributions of our veterans from more recent conflicts. From the dense jungles of Vietnam to the rugged terrain of Korea, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, the sons and daughters of Guyra and the New England region have continued to uphold the ANZAC spirit with unwavering courage and resilience.
The Vietnam War saw our service members face a challenging and often contentious conflict, yet their dedication to their duty remained steadfast. Their experiences, marked by the complexity of guerrilla warfare and the profound demands of service, added a new chapter to our town’s legacy of service.
In the bitter cold of the Korean Peninsula, our veterans stood as part of a multinational force, demonstrating the strength and resolve that have become hallmarks of our community. Their efforts during the Korean War helped to sustain a nation’s freedom, reflecting the enduring commitment of our people to uphold the values we hold dear.
More recently, in the deserts of Iraq and the rugged landscapes of Afghanistan, the men and women of Guyra have continued to embody the ANZAC ethos. Their participation in these modern conflicts, often in roles that required both physical fortitude and moral courage, underscores the evolving nature of our commitment to peace and security.
Today, as we reflect on the sacrifices of our ANZAC forebears and current day veterans, we also recognise the resilience of the current generation of Guyra residents. In the face of modern challenges, whether they be natural disasters, economic hardships, or the global pandemic, our community has consistently demonstrated a collective strength and tenacity that are the true legacies of our ANZAC ancestors.
Our ability to come together, support one another, and overcome adversity is a direct reflection of the ANZAC ethos that runs deep in our town’s DNA. Just as our ANZACs stood united in the trenches, so too do we stand united in our efforts to build a prosperous, inclusive, and resilient community.
As we lay wreaths and observe a moment of silence, let us renew our commitment to the values our ANZACs held dear. Let us pledge to embody their spirit of determination, their sense of unity, and their profound love for this land. By doing so, we ensure that their legacy endures, inspiring future generations to uphold the ideals for which they so valiantly fought.
Today, in Guyra, we remember not just the past but also look forward with hope, knowing that the spirit of the ANZACs continues to guide us. Let their memory be a beacon that lights our way forward, reminding us that together, there is no challenge too great, no obstacle insurmountable.
Lest we forget.
Major Adam White