Friday, 3 July 2015

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


The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial in Albany, Western Australia, was today declared a Military Memorial of National Significance by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson.

Senator Ronaldson joined the Federal Member for O’Connor, Mr Rick Wilson MP, and the Mayor of the City of Albany, Cr Dennis Wellington, to make the announcement at the Memorial.

The memorial commemorates the men of the Australian Light Horse, as well as the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, the Imperial Camel Corps and the Australian Flying Corps who served in Egypt, Palestine and Syria during the First World War between 1916 and 1918.

“Australia has a proud wartime history and it is important that those who served are remembered now and into the future,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“It is an honour to officially declare the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial in Albany a Military Memorial of National Significance. It is fitting that this memorial receives this recognition during the Centenary of Anzac period – the most important period of commemoration in our nation’s history.”

To be declared a Military Memorial of National Significance, the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial has satisfied the 10 criteria for listing as set out in the legislation. These include a requirement for the Memorial to be appropriately dignified and symbolic, be of sufficient scale and be of commemorative importance to the community and the nation.

“The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial is one of only two Military Memorials of National Significance in Western Australia, joining the HMAS Sydney II Memorial in Geraldton. This special status is awarded to memorials of national importance that are not located in the nation’s capital,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson said the memorial’s bronze cast statue was a copy of the original, which was erected at Port Said in Egypt, and unveiled on 23 November 1932.

“The Port Said memorial was irreparably damaged during the Suez crisis in 1956, however, the masonry was salvaged and brought to Australia for re-erection at the Albany site before being unveiled by former Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Menzies on 11 October 1964,” Mr Wilson said.

“The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial has always been a focal point for our community and it is a great honour that we have now received this level of recognition.

“I encourage all visitors to Albany to make sure they visit this important Memorial, and pause to acknowledge the sacrifice of Australians who died for their nation in the Middle East during the First World War,” Mr Wilson said.

Senator Ronaldson noted the support of the people of Albany for the Memorial and for the wider programme of commemoration associated with the Centenary of Anzac.

“The people of Albany played an important role in the commemoration of the Centenary of Anzac, hosting a series of significant events here in October and November 2014. The opening of the National Anzac Centre, and the better than expected visitor numbers over the first six months of operation, attest to the community’s deep engagement with our nation’s military history,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“It is an honour and privilege to again visit Albany and to bestow this honour on the Memorial and, by extension, the people of the community who have cared for it for so many years.”

Media enquiries:

Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

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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