Wonderful turn-out marks Anzac Day

I ask that you might allow me a few lines with which to thank the people of Port Pirie for the wonderful turn-out to mark Anzac Day.

I was privileged to publicly introduce the guests and speakers, including Mayor John Rohde and Superintendent Damian Powell, officer-in-charge of our police area. Both gave highly impressive speeches, but something I witnessed during Supt. Powell’s contribution stayed with me long after the day was done.  

As I stood beside Mr Powell at the podium, I observed the actions of one of his officers which typified the same “Anzac” ethos of service her boss was addressing at that very time.   

An elderly veteran, who appeared to be vision-impaired, seemed to become slightly disoriented while he stood with the parade in the sun.   A uniformed police officer – presumably of the local team - noticed this from about 50 metres away.   She quietly broke ranks from the police contingent, found a plastic chair and walked across to the man and his dog.   After apparently ascertaining that he was comfortable, she then gave him the chair.   She did not leave his side until it was clear that he was okay.  

It all happened within a couple of minutes, yet this simple gesture of decency was offered with what struck me from a distance as an intuitive sense of care and discretion.   In my experience people who act so quickly to go to the aid of others are possessed of the very best of human qualities.   It is to our shame that the rest of us never seem to find time to thank them with the same spontaneity of spirit.   

I have written Supt. Powell to commend this officer, whose name I do not know.    

I would like to publicly thank her, along with all who attended, and especially the emergency services and volunteers.

Andrew Male, Port Pirie

Our unsung heroes

Much is written of our gallant men

Who fought on distant land;

But of those women left behind,

We need to understand.

When they kissed their ‘soldier boys’ goodbye, 

And watched them leave for hostile shore;

Who knows their depth of loss and despair,

(Or if they knew what was in store).

So spare a thought for those brave souls

Whose men were called to fight,

Of homeland ‘battles’ that they fought,

To erase our nation’s plight.

These womenfolk, they set about

With naught a word of praise,

Doing what was expected

Helped them through their days.

The call went out for volunteers

And no matter what the task,

Whether Land Army, Communications,

Or Armament, was the ask. 

As one, they rose to take the place

Of the void their menfolk left behind,

To keep our nation moving

Would become their daily grind.

Farms and factories could not close,

As more often, needs increased.

They did not strike nor voice complaint

Their ‘war effort’ never ceased.

The family home was still maintained

Food rations were stretched out;

Each day was long and tiring

Of that, there was no doubt.

They tended to their vegie patch

Plus choko vine or two,

With extra hens, more eggs to share,

And of course, the rabbit stew.

The children’s needs were not forgot

Their schooling must be done;

Trying to keep a ‘normal’ home

Whilst taking care of everyone.

At night, before they’d go to bed,

A letter must be penned;

They longed to see their men again,

And prayed the war would end.

The role they played, mostly ignored,

Or given little consideration;

They filled a need, and so became

The ‘backbone’ of our nation.

When we remember our brave men,

And their deeds, each Anzac Day,

Please spare a thought for our womenfolk

And the part that they did play!

Anneke Elridge

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