Australia

Australia, a land of blessings.

Apr 282015
 

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that content on this page may contain images and references to deceased persons.

France, C. 1916. Non Commissioned Officers and Gunners who served at Gallipoli. Identified front centre is Indigenous soldier Private Alfred Jackson Coombs.

France, C. 1916. Non Commissioned Officers and Gunners who served at Gallipoli. Identified front centre is Indigenous soldier Private Alfred Jackson Coombs.

Indigenous Australians have served in all major conflicts, from the Boer War to Afghanistan. With the centenary of the Anzacs we remember and commemorate all those who have served in the armed forces. I would like to pay a special tribute to the Indigenous Australians who fought in the wars; including the women who enlisted in women’s services or worked in war industries.

Private Frederick Prentice,12th Battalion, and later 1st Australian Pioneer Battalion. He enlisted on 7 May 1915 in Keswick, SA, and won a Military Medal for his actions on 19 July 1916 at Pozieres, France, where he showed great courage, resource and ability in bringing machine guns and ammunition through the enemy barrage in the dark and across broken ground. Frederick Prentice returned to Australia as a Corporal on 12 May 1919.

Private Frederick Prentice,12th Battalion, and later 1st Australian Pioneer Battalion. He enlisted on 7 May 1915 in Keswick, SA, and won a Military Medal for his actions on 19 July 1916 at Pozieres, France, where he showed great courage, resource and ability in bringing machine guns and ammunition through the enemy barrage in the dark and across broken ground. Frederick Prentice returned to Australia as a Corporal on 12 May 1919.

Private Richard Martin. Originally enlisted in the 15th Battalion on 17 December 1914 and served with this unit at Gallipoli but was transferred to the 47th Battalion. He embarked from Alexandria on 14 June 1916 bound for Marseilles. In three years of fighting on the Western Front he was wounded in action three times. He was killed in action on 28 March 1918.

Private Richard Martin.
Originally enlisted in the 15th Battalion on 17 December 1914 and served with this unit at Gallipoli but was transferred to the 47th Battalion. He embarked from Alexandria on 14 June 1916 bound for Marseilles. In three years of fighting on the Western Front he was wounded in action three times. He was killed in action on 28 March 1918.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the First World War Australia saw over 1000 Indigenous Australians serve in the AIF. It was difficult for them to enlist, being rejected due to Australia's Defence Act of 1903 which excluded people who were not substantially of European descent from enlisting. Some managed to slip through and once in they served in the same conditions as other members; many experienced equal treatment for the first time in their lives and were paid the same as other soldiers. But it is sad to note that on return to civilian life many found they were treated with the same prejudice and discrimination as before.

Private Miller Mack, 50th Battalion. He embarked with the 7th Reinforcements from Adelaide on HMAT Afric on 6 November 1916.

Private Miller Mack, 50th Battalion. He
embarked with the 7th Reinforcements from Adelaide on HMAT Afric on 6 November 1916.

Why did Indigenous Australians want to serve? Loyalty and patriotism may have encouraged Indigenous Australians to enlist. Some saw it as a chance to prove themselves the equal of Europeans or to push for better treatment after the war. But this was not to be. After the war, in areas such as education, employment, and civil liberties, Aboriginal ex-servicemen and women faced greater discrimination when they came home than before they left. (Even unable to vote, it wasn’t until 1962 that voting rights were granted to all Aboriginal Australians; although some Aboriginal people were granted voting rights in the 1850s in some states).

Trooper Horace Thomas Dalton, 11th Light Horse Regiment. He enlisted on 16 May 1918, and embarked for service overseas aboard HMAT Port Sydney (A15) from Sydney on 17 August 1918.

Trooper Horace Thomas Dalton, 11th Light Horse Regiment. He enlisted on 16 May 1918, and embarked for service overseas aboard HMAT Port Sydney (A15) from Sydney on 17 August 1918.

Despite the treatment of Indigenous Australians by white Australia, they supported the country's defence. Indigenous Australians are to be remembered and given the same recognition as all those who served (are serving) our country without any separation. They served with courage and sacrifice, placing others before self.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.   John 15:13 King James Version (KJV).

The Spirit of ANZAC is a cornerstone which underpins our Australian image, way of life and indeed is an integral part of our heritage.

We will remember them.

The images used in this article are Public Domain referenced from the Australian War Memorial website from the Collections items.

Apr 252015
 

Anzac-Day-2015-Images-3

This year marks 100 years since our nation’s involvement in the First World War. Anzac Day is a special day when we commemorate all those who served in the wars.

This day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. We remember Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.
Anzac Centennial

The name Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as Anzacs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.
Anzac Day tradition

Ode

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

The Ode comes from For the Fallen, a poem by the English poet and writer Laurence Binyon and was published in London in the Winnowing Fan; Poems of the Great War in 1914.

anzac-day-concert-20141

Why is this day special to Australians? Read more here.

Feb 072010
 

On the first anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires, we solemnly remember the devastation caused by the fires around our State of Victoria.

 

We remember those who died, families who lost everything, the injured, the firefighters, the volunteers & all those affected. When a disaster like this one rears it's ugly being it does affect the whole nation. ..... it's almost unbelievable that something like this could happen.

Ferocious, wild, incomprhensible were some of the the words used to describe this event which is marked down as one of the worst fire in Australia's history. The State recorded over 400 individual fires; Temperatures reached 45C; 173 live were lost; 414 people injured; 2029 homes were destroyed; the total loss of animal life is unknown.... the list is long.

So many have been profoundly affected, yet in the midst of a disaster something happens to humanity - we become 'human'. We open our hearts and reach out to those in need. Many will actually forget themselves so that they can give of their time & energy to help all those affected; People will gather together to pray; and many will open their own homes to the needy.

Articles of Interest

The Black Day That Won't Go Away

How Kindness and Hope Rose from the Ashes of Disaster

Wear a Yellow Ribbon and remember.

Australia Red Cross Bushfire Appeal

The Horror - Photos

The Heroes - Photos

More Videos

Today, we remember & pray for so many - Thank you dear Lord that you will comfort, heal, help, encourage and bless them all.

Apr 242009
 

 

 

What is ANZAC Day?

ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as ANZACs, and the pride they soon took in that name endures to this day.

Why is this day special to Australians?

When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 14 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula to open the way to the Black Sea for the allied navies........ More

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

... Lest we forget.

Feb 092009
 

 Who would have thought that last Saturday would bring not only Melbourne's hottest recorded day at 46.4 degrees but our Blackest day for bushfires in Victoria. Although aware of the bushfires around our state many of us were unaware of the Huge tragedy that unfolded. A truly sad day for so many people who lost their homes, and even more sadness for those who lost thier loved ones. The death toll keeps rising, the fires keep raging and towns have been wiped out.

However traggic this is we know how Aussies band together when times are bad. Aussies open their hearts to help out in any way they can. The words about our country from the poem My Country, by Dorothea Mackellar (1885 - 1968) ring true. We've all heard this second verse -

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

Fire and Flood have been before - it's not new. But it's incredible how we have the two extremes happening at the same time - devastating floods in northern Queensland and raging bushfires down south in Victoria. Yet these words should make us stop and think -

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold-
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

From day to day we usually spend our time complaining about 'what we want, what we haven't got, what somebody else should do or shouldn't do ... and so on. Yet we do love our country dearly and we Do care dearly for our neighbour. It's sad though that we only show it at times of great tragedies. After the waters have receded and the fires are no more, will we remember how neighbourly we all should be? Perhaps these tragedies are a  way the Lord brings us together ......

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land-
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand-
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

To the courageous men and women who are battling these disasters we pray that the Lord will protect you and fill you with His strength. May He comfort and help all those involved and affected by the bushfires and floods. May more good come out of this than the destruction it has caused.

Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Help of Christians,

Pray For Us

Many prayers I'm sure are being prayed around the country - if you feel led to add a prayer here you are welcome to do so.

Jan 262009
 

God Bless Australia

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia Fair

Our Lady of the Southern Cross

Pray for Us.

Aug 102008
 

As I sit here writing this post the sun has decided to make a sneak appearance. But that won’t disguise the fact that it’s been raining all night and all morning. You might say “well that’s no big deal”, and I guess it’s easily said. Except that when your country has been in drought for a number of years and you’ve watched reservoir & dam levels continually drop over those years, and you’ve been living with water restrictions, and you know how hard this has hit all our farmers … indeed everyone, then rain does become a big deal.

Cardinal George Pell asked our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, if he would pray for rain for Australia. This was at the final mass at Randwick and indeed Pope Benedict prayed for rain. It held off for most of the day as pilgrims made their way out of Randwick to journey home …. then it began to rain.

Back home in Melbourne the rain has come on & off, little drizzles here and there but when you hear it fall heavily on your roof you can’t help but be thankful for the prayers and the rain that’s come. It’s been raining all night and all morning. OK, one night of rain won’t fill the dams but it will water the parched grounds and gardens. I pray though that this rain is also falling in our country areas, farmlands and catchment areas, and I pray that it will continue to fall.

 

For me, and I’m sure for others, this is a sign of blessings. So we keep on praying for the blessings to continue to fall …. and to overflow over all the earth.

 

“My word is like the snow and the rain that comes down from the sky to water the earth. They make the crops grow and provide seed for planting and food to eat. So also will be the word that I speak – it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do”

Isaiah 55:10-11