I was meant to post this in September last year, but was put in the back burner. On my recent trip to London, I was on the DLR and saw the Westfield Stratford City complex, and it reminded me about this video. Launched as part of the opening of the shopping complex on 13 September 2011, this video celebrates 100 years of East London style in 100 seconds from 13th September 1911 to 13th September 2011.
Last night I was at the retirement drinks of Lt. Col. Gary L. Barnes at the Victoria Barracks Officers Mess in Sydney. I first met Gary on Remembrance Day 2011 at the Officers Mess. We became instant friends.
Gary is Australia’s longest and last National Serviceman. He has had a stellar career spanning over 40 years. He retired on 7th February 2012. He is indeed a legend. Last night a few of his friends and colleagues gathered at the Mess to share a drink with Gary and to wish him well.
I wanted to do something special for someone who has given so much in protecting and advancing Australia’s national interests. I asked the Office of the Governor-General if it was possible for Her Excellency to write a few words which can be read out at the retirement drinks. The Governor-General wrote these words. The message was read out by the President of the Mess Committee.
It is only fitting that as it is the Governor-General who commissions someone into service, it should be the Governor-General who signs a record of service for someone retiring after 25 plus years of active service. Much like the message Her Excellency wrote. The current process is that the service chief signs a record of service. Gary has served eight Governors-General.
The ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park Sydney was erected to “express with dignity and simplicity neither the glory nor the glamour of war, but those nobler attributes of human nature…Courage, Endurance, and Sacrifice.”
Lt. Col. Gary L. Barnes is a testament to those nobler attributes of human nature.
Two events will be celebrated this year. Through the course of history those two events have became intertwined in the rich tapestry of our nation’s history.
A great scholastic institution, Homebush Boys’ High School, will celebrate 75 years of academic, sporting and cultural excellence. For our family, this year will mark 25 years since we all set foot on Australian soil. We arrived on Boxing Day 1986, and our story, like many stories at Homebush Boys, is a tale of access to opportunity.
James Brown raises some valid points in his recent opinion piece. He argues that the prime minister and opposition leader should make the upcoming funeral of Private Matthew Lambert their last, and that it is time to depoliticise military funerals.
Military funerals should never be politicised. But I disagree that this should be the last funeral attended by the prime minister and opposition leader.
Brown writes that: “The presence of our most senior politicians at military funerals in Australia reinforces the myth that Australian military deaths in war are extraordinary and unexpected.”
I disagree. The presence of our most senior politicians at military funerals reinforces the reality to the public that Australia is at war. And people do die in wars.
The Hilton Hotel was filled with the who’s who of Australia’s diplomatic, business, political, and academic worlds.
A former prime minister, a current prime minister (Tonga’s), former premiers, current and former ministers, the consular corps, ceos, vice-chancellors, deans, media moguls, the odd splattering of royalty (Pacific Islander, not European), and me.
The founding director of the AustralAsia Centre, (and my mentor), Dick Woolcott was in conversation with Bob Zoellick on the global economic outlook, key global challenges, debt issues, the changing economic landscape and the rise of China.