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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Wednesday, 10 June 2015
VA057

TRIBUTE TO BORNEO WW2 CAMPAIGN UNVEILED ON 70TH ANNIVERSARY

Eight Australian veterans in Borneo for the 70th anniversary commemorations of the last major Australian campaign of the Second World War will be the special guests at a multimedia exhibition launched today in Brunei by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson.

The Stories through Memories – 70 Years of Friendship exhibition will run at the Art Gallery, The Royal Wharf in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, until 30 June.

“This exhibition is a fitting tribute to the men and women of Borneo who lived through the horrors of war, but it also celebrates the lasting friendship of the people of Brunei and Australia – formed 70 years ago when Australia liberated the country from Japanese occupation in 1945,” Senator Ronaldson said.

The exhibition is an initiative of the Australian High Commission and the Universiti Brunei Darussalam, commemorating the events in Borneo during the Second World War and telling the stories of the local elders who lived through it.

Senator Ronaldson said earlier in the day, the veterans participated in a commemorative ceremony at the Brunei–Australia Memorial to honour the actions of Australians during the War.

“The memorial stands at the site of the second landing of Australian troops on Borneo [Oboe 6] at Muara, Brunei, and honours all Australians who served in operations in British North Borneo,” he said.

Senator Ronaldson said he also looked forward to joining the veterans today for an audience with His Royal Highness, Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah.

Tomorrow the veterans will return to Australia following 10 days in Borneo participating in 70th anniversary commemorative ceremonies in Singapore, Balikpapan, Tarakan and Brunei. The veterans also visited the sites of the Oboe 1 landings at Tarakan, Oboe 2 landings at Balikpapan and the Surrender Point Memorial in Labuan.

The Oboe landings on Borneo – amphibious landings of Australian troops on the Island to liberate its people from Japanese occupation – were the most complex and final major Australian operations of the Second World War and occurred from May to July 1945. Some 75,000 Australians participated in the Oboe campaign and more than 590 lost their lives.

Editor’s note: A list of veterans travelling to Borneo is attached. Veteran biographies, images, historical background and other resources are available at www.dva.gov.au/media. Follow the veterans on Facebook at DVA Aus, Twitter at @dvaaus and Flickr at DVA Aus.

Media inquiries:
Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381
Veteran interviews: Emma Collien emma.collien@dva.gov.au +61 (0) 429 129 661 – travelling with the veterans

Veterans travelling to Borneo

Name
Age Service Location
Mr Patrick (Pat) Curtis 90 Navy QLD
Mr Bryan Wearne 90 Navy VIC
Mr Geoffrey (Geoff) Chapman 91 Army TAS
Mr Keith Hearne 89 Army VIC
Mr Kenneth (Brian) Winchcombe 89 Army WA
Mr Jack Olsson OAM 96 Army ACT
Mr Thomas (Tom) Tyne 94 Air Force NSW
Mr Frederick (Fred) Sharon 89 Air Force SA

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

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