Thursday 07 May, 2015

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (16:32): I rise today to talk a little bit about the impact of Gallipoli and the First World War on the Campbelltown district, which is partially in my electorate of Hartley. Obviously, at the centenary of ANZAC just passed we commemorated, remembered and mourned the people of our country who fought and died in the service of this nation. Certainly the ANZAC legend shaped our unique Australian identity and it is fair to say we emerge at the turn of the century from perhaps what was a distant outpost of the British Empire, the edge of the world, to one of the shining lights of opportunity and certainly freedom in the world.


The ANZAC spirit of hard work, toil, sacrifice and reward certainly is as relevant to our society today as it was 100 years ago and we have an opportunity to reflect on that ethos in our day-to-day lives, but especially when commemorating the centenary of ANZAC. Mr James Jury is a gentleman who is part of the St George's historical church group society and he has done a fantastic job at putting a book together which commemorates the ANZAC tradition and the spirit and what happened during the First World War.

During the last month, I had the pleasure of attending many ANZAC ceremonies in my electorate. One was at Clayton Church in Magill, another one was at the Bupa nursing home in Campbelltown and, of course, on ANZAC Day, along with the member for Morialta and many of the councillors and other members of parliament, I attended the Magill ceremony at The Gums in Tranmere, which was attended by thousands of locals commemorating the special day.

Further to that, we also visited the Payneham RSL and last, but not least, the Kensington Park RSL. It was a busy day. It was an enjoyable day and a wonderful opportunity to commemorate and remember those who have fallen before us.

The impact the First World War had on Campbelltown is apparent. Looking at the Magill RSL Honour Roll, the Magill memorial statue and the Campbelltown War Memorial statue, there were approximately 367 enlistments, of whom 55 made the supreme sacrifice. There is no doubt that the impact on our local area was huge. Across the state, South Australia had 34,959 enlistments, which represented 8 per cent of the state's population of 437,000 at the time.

Men aged between the ages of 18 and 44 who enlisted represented 37.6 per cent of the state's male population, so it goes without saying that quite a significant amount of our productive workforce at that time was affected by this war. I note that 6,600 soldiers from South Australia were killed, and that represented 18.9 per cent of those who enlisted and fought overseas. South Australia's fatality rate was the highest nationally. The impact on Campbelltown was certainly immense, as it was across the whole of South Australia, especially considering that the district of Campbelltown was only 46 years old when the First World War broke out.

The impact that this war had on early settlers was obviously devastating. Certainly, young people from the district were eager to enlist and, naturally, that placed a massive strain on available people power for primary production. Most of the young people in the Campbelltown region actually joined the Australian Infantry Forces, principally the 10th, 16th, 27th and 3rd/9th Light Horse battalions, and most of those regiments were raised in South Australia.

There was a massive impact upon many of the churches in my area, and one only has to look at the memorial at St. George's Church, Magill, to see that. Further to that, the Campbelltown Methodist Church Honor Roll details the 34 enlistments and the eight who made the supreme sacrifice. On the Campbelltown War Memorial statue, we see that there were 94 enlistments and 15 who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. There is also the Magill Soldiers Memorial statue.

It was quite an emotional day, this 100th year commemoration of ANZAC Day, and I certainly took it very seriously. So much blood has been shed for us to have the liberties, the democracy and the freedom that we have in our state and in our nation. It certainly puts things into perspective. We are certainly indebted to those who have fallen so that we can enjoy the wonderful opportunities and the wonderful freedom that we have in South Australia.

I would like to commend Mr James Jury and the St George's Church Historical Group for putting together their book, Young Men for the Cause. I also commend the community groups and organisations, the RSLs and the churches, some of which I have mentioned, which have taken the time to really make sure that the 100th year commemoration of ANZAC Day was such a special day.

On Sunday 26 April, we attended a moving service at St George's, Magill. After that, we were invited to view what seemed to be quite a collection of items preserved from the First World War, many of which came from the families of some of the soldiers involved. I attended that with the member for Morialta and also the member for Sturt, and we were very moved and very honoured to be in the presence of that wonderful community group. With those words, I finish up and congratulate all those who made the commemoration such a success.