Boys who did Ipswich proud
DURING the past four years, a number of events have been held in Ipswich to commemorate the centenary of battles and other significant events of World War I.
These events were co-ordinated and organised by a group of dedicated members of the RSL under the banner of the Joint Ipswich Region Anzac Centenary Committee (JIRACC).
The committee was formed in 2013 under the Federal Government's program to have local communities take an active role in the commemoration of the centenary of World War I and the service of the Australian Defence Force over 100 years.
JIRACC concentrated on varying milestones of World War One and in particular the involvement of Ipswich residents in those events. The first commemorative service recognised the first involvement of Australian troops in action at Bita Paka in German held New Guinea in 1914.
The various Ipswich RSL sub-branches involved the schools through an essay competition based around the Anzac landings and the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 as well as other school based activities to commemorate the varying horrendous battles of the Western Front, especially Fromelles and Pozieres during 1916.
Last year, the committee held an event to honour and acknowledge the "Ipswich Tea Ladies".
Established during World War I, the Tea Ladies of Ipswich, a very caring and committed group of ladies, showed their appreciation to soldiers returning home from the Front by meeting each train (at all hours), and supplying the Diggers with tea and refreshments.
In honour of these magnificent women, a memorial stained-glass window was unveiled at the Soldiers' Memorial Hall on November 30, 1922, by Governor Sir Walter Nathan and at the time was claimed to be the "finest example of stained glass produced in Australasia".
The JIRACC's final event was held last Thursday where, together with the Ipswich City Council they co-named the Southern Amberley Road between the Ipswich Rosewood Road and the entrance to RAAF Base Amberley as an "Avenue of Honour".
The "Avenue of Honour" is dedicated on the 101st anniversary of the dedication of the original "Amberley Boys" Honour Stone that was unveiled in 1917 and stood on the corner of the Southern Amberley Road and the Old Toowoomba Rd (now Amberley Rosewood Rd) until 1982.
It carried the names of those in the Amberley district who served in both World War I and World War II and has since been relocated to the RAAF Amberley memorial gardens.
In addition, JIRACC members propose to develop "markers" to be installed along Southern Amberley Rd to recognise "all those who travelled down Southern Amberley Rd to serve or enlist in the Australian Defence Forces over the past 100 years".
For all the events organised by JIRACC, this is probably the most significant of them all as it will leave a legacy to all who travelled down this road to enlist and serve their nation in times of extreme adversity.
What could be a more fitting way to bring closure to the Centenary of ANZAC. Congratulations to each and every member of JIRACC you have done Ipswich proud.