KINGS PARK WESTERN AUSTRALIA
In August 2001 the Borneo POW Relatives Association of WA erected a plaque in Marri Walk Kings Park dedicated to those who died at Sandakan.
Then in 2005 the association erected a memorial dedicated to those POWs who died in Borneo. A Sandakan Memorial Dedication Service was held on Sunday 28th August 2005. At the service the Carine Senior High School were appointed custodians of the memorial.
The Borneo Bugle of October 1st 2005 contained a report of the ceremony by the President, Allan Cresswell, of the Borneo POW Relatives Association of WA Inc. In the report he stated:
What a great Memorial Dedication Service on Sunday August 28 2005! It was very fitting that the memorial was built and dedicated in the sixtieth year since the last of our soldiers were tortured, starved and murdered at Sandakan and Ranau. It is also so important to recognize and acknowledge that although it is over sixty years since family and friends saw these servicemen for the last time, we do still remember them. Many of the parents, wives, brothers and sisters of these fine heroes of Borneo have also passed on. But the children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces and other family members and friends still hold dear the memory of the these men and the ultimate sacrifice they made under such terrible circumstances. By providing a perpetual memorial in Kings Park to the POWs of Borneo ensures that the continuing and subsequent generations of Perth do remember and that they also have a central place to reflect on those sacrifices made.
Many people approached our members after the memorial service to say what a fine memorial and such a wonderful dedication ceremony it was. These included many officials from various kindred associations who appreciated the commitment, planning and effort to achieve such a wonderful memorial built in such a fine location. But through all the years of fundraising, designing, planning, organising and the memorial service preparation one name stands out in all aspects. That is of our secretary, Ken Jones. Ken is to be commended for the initiative and drive to ensure that this project came to fruition and that it would be a success. That Ken’s dad is commemorated in NSW and does not appear on the WA Honour Roll of our memorial makes us even more appreciative of the time and effort given by Ken. On behalf of all those Sandakan servicemen and all their families, well done Ken!
A special feature at the service was the involvement by the Carine Senior High School who were officially appointed as the custodian of the Sandakan Memorial.
Many organisations, members of our association and non-members contributed both to the design and construction of the memorial, with donations and contributions made and with the Dedication Service formalities. Our sincere thanks go out to them all. Well done everyone!
Our secretary, Ken Jones, also reported on the Sandakan Day Dedication Service:
Including the 40 invited guests it was estimated that 300 people attended the service held on Sunday 28 th August. There was some apprehension in regard to the weather but fortunately, it cleared during the morning and the ceremony proceeded without interruption.
Speeches were made by Mr William Gaynor OAM RFD, Mr. Allan Cresswell and Mr. Bob Brackenbury . Mr Keith Jones read the Association’s Ode and Jodi Bavin read a poem “ DO THEY REMEMBER ME?”
Captain Andrew Robinson, the Chaplain of 16 RWAR, gave the prayers and the consecration of the Memorial.
“MAY GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON AND GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT,
GUARD AND KEEP THIS MEMORIAL AS OUR MONUMENT TO THOSE
WHO MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE.
MAY THOSE WHO SEE IT BE ALWAYS REMINDED OF WHAT IT REPRESENTS, AND PRESERVE THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIFE FOR OUR FREEDOM.
The Linties Choir and an ensemble from Carine Senior High School very ably provided anthems, hymns and psalms throughout the service including the Wreath Laying. Eighteen wreaths were laid by the official party and many others by families and friends. A special wreath was laid by Cathy Depiazzi and her niece Tayla Smith in honour of Julia Smith, Cathy’s mum and a long serving member of our Association. The wreath also honoured Julia’s dad who died at Sandakan.
The Act of Remembrance was conducted, in conjunction with the Bugler, by Mr. Ian Mulholland and the Catafalque Party from 13 Field Squadron mounted the Honour Guard.
The President, Mr. Allan Cresswell, appointed Carine Senior High School the guardians of the Memorial with these words-
“WE, THE BORNEO PRISONER OF WAR RELATIVES ASSOCIATION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA, APPOINT THE CARINE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL AS THE WARDEN OF THIS MEMORIAL TO OUR FALLEN SERVICEMEN AND CHARGE YOU TO GUARD THIS SACRED TRUST NOW PLACED IN YOUR KEEPING”.
This was accepted by the Headmaster and the Senior Girl and Boy on behalf of the School with these words-
“WE, THE REPRESENTATIVES OF CARINE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, ACCEPT THE CUSTODIANSHIP AND IN DOING SO VOW THAT WEWILL HONOUR THE SACRED TRUST NOW PLACED IN OUR KEEPING”
We have received many messages, both verbal and written, congratulating us on the design and the location and we are indebted to the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority in allowing us the privilege of having our Memorial in Marri Walk.
But none of this would have been possible if we had not received the initial support from the State RSL, the WA Ex POW Association and the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority. This support enabled us to confidently seek funding from various sources in the Government and private sectors. And again, it would not have been possible if the majority of the members and some of the general public had not donated sufficient funds to ensure success.
My thanks to the sub-committee of Rhonda Miller, Keith Jones and Allan Cresswell and to my good mates the Engineers, Rod Neaves and Rein Loo, who all gave willingly of their time.
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