MEMORIES OF LEMNOS

Thursday 02 July, 2015

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (12:36): I also congratulate the organisation of Hellene and Hellene-Cypriot Women of Australia for its efforts to commemorate the centenary of ANZAC with the memories of Lemnos and the Australian nurses and the ANZAC centenary ceremony on Sunday, 19 April at Keswick Barracks. I also recognise the service given by Australian nurses on the Greek island of Lemnos during the Gallipoli landings. I also recognise Greece for supporting Australia's war effort through its support for Australian nurses stationed at military hospitals based on Lemnos island during the Gallipoli campaign, and also to consider a permanent memorial specifically commemorating the Australian women who served as nurses on Lemnos island to be incorporated in the soon-to-be constructed Anzac Walk.

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (12:36): I also congratulate the organisation of Hellene and Hellene-Cypriot Women of Australia for its efforts to commemorate the centenary of ANZAC with the memories of Lemnos and the Australian nurses and the ANZAC centenary ceremony on Sunday, 19 April at Keswick Barracks. I also recognise the service given by Australian nurses on the Greek island of Lemnos during the Gallipoli landings. I also recognise Greece for supporting Australia's war effort through its support for Australian nurses stationed at military hospitals based on Lemnos island during the Gallipoli campaign, and also to consider a permanent memorial specifically commemorating the Australian women who served as nurses on Lemnos island to be incorporated in the soon-to-be constructed Anzac Walk.

It is also my great pleasure to welcome the new Greek Consul formally in this place, Mr Andreas-Konstantinos Gouras, and also those in the gallery today. Mr Gouras is certainly a friend of ours in Adelaide. Obviously, many people of Greek origin reside in my electorate, and to commend what the leader said earlier, Mr Gouras has certainly endeared himself; he is a strong ambassador for Australians in Greece but also for people in Australia with Greek origins.

He also educated me about columns, and if I am not mistaken those in this chamber are Ionic columns. I hope I picked that up, so Efharisto' to the—

An honourable member: Ionic capitals.

Mr TARZIA: Ionic capitals, thank you very much.

Mr Marshall: And these are fluted pilasters, and they are fluted columns and Ionic capitals.

Mr TARZIA: There you go. The leader has corrected me—it wouldn't be the first time either! I commend the member for Unley for raising this motion, and I applaud the government for also supporting it. The member for Unley spoke of the history involved in this cause and he spoke of the rugged conditions, the conditions that many of these nurses endured when trying to save people's lives and caring for them on the battlefields.

When you look at some of the diary entries from some of the nurses it is really quite touching. I thought I would relate some of them to the house. There is an account from Sister Ella Tucker, for example, who served as a nurse just off Gallipoli, dated 25 April 1915, where she summarises, 'Red letter day. Shells bursting all round, we are off Gaba Tepe.'

Other nurses go on to talk of the sickening conditions and the pain that was endured in and around that area. Matron Wilson and her nurses, for example, experienced much inefficiency of military administration in relation to the hospitals that they served in. These were conditions that were appalling. Much of the time there was wind. The member for Unley spoke of how women would sometimes have to cut their hair to prevent other conditions from happening as well.

There is another diary entry on 9 August. Matron Wilson goes on to say: 'Found 150 patients lying on the ground—no equipment whatever…had no water to drink or wash.' On 10 August: 'Still no water…convoy arrived at night and used up all our private things, soap etc, tore up clothes [for bandages].' It is really quite awful stuff. It really puts things into perspective. It puts into perspective how much sacrifice was made back then and especially by the nurses—thankless. It is a thankless profession. I have a sister who is a nurse and I know the member for Elder was a nurse. These people have the most amount of empathy you will ever find and they served in such tough conditions. I know that the Greek people and the Australian people are certainly grateful for all that they did during that time.

As the member for Taylor alluded to, it is fitting to say that that was the beginning of quite a strong relationship between Greeks and Australians. We pay tribute to the sacrifice that was made. It puts things into perspective and we are very grateful. We are very grateful for those who have served before us to make sure that we enjoy the liberties and the luxuries that we have today.

We do have a proud history in Australia. Certainly in my electorate I have two local Greek parishes: the Norwood parish and the Athelstone parish. I know that many of those families, who are here today, are also very grateful for the migrants and what they have endured before them, and for the sacrifices that their grandparents and great-grandparents made in coming to Australia to share in the wonderful community that we have today.

I thank the ladies, especially Helen Haltis, the President of the Organisation of Hellene and Hellene-Cypriot Women of Australia, and her committee and her supporters, as well as Mr Andreas-Konstantinos Gouras, for coming in today. I commend the motion to the house.