Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Speech in Parliament - Centenary of Anzac - 3 September 2014

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (09:33): I rise this morning to again talk about the Centenary of Anzac. Each of us in our electorates has commenced commemorating not just the great national event but also the local events, the local history and the happenings of a hundred years ago. I particularly wanted to mention this morning the interest and the involvement of young Australians in our community, which we are all seeing on so many levels.

The Casey Anzac Centenary Community Committee, which I formed last year to assess and recommend local grants, comprises a number of outstanding citizens. One in particular is 21-year-old Blake Hadlow, a student from Mount Evelyn, who has a deep interest in the history of the Anzacs. He is the grandson of the late Harry Smith of Montrose, who served Australia with distinction in Korea and then afterwards as a prominent member of the RSL. Blake showed a very strong interest and continues to, which is a great asset to us in the Casey community.

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to meet another young Casey resident with a deep interest in the history of Anzac, and that is Otis Heffernan-Wooden from Lilydale High School. He was one of 12 recipients of the Victorian Premier's Spirit of Anzac Prize for a short essay. I have read his essay. It is an outstanding piece of work, very accurately researched and incredibly well written. As one of the winners, he had the privilege of travelling earlier this year to Gallipoli, the Western Front and Lemnos in Greece, which of course was the place where the Anzacs assembled before going to Gallipoli.

I want to pay tribute to Otis for his interest, not just at the time of writing the essay, but for his enduring interest in the Centenary of Anzac in the Casey electorate. I think all of us would agree that the interest and the involvement of young Australians in our community is something we can all be very proud of and know that in the future they will carry the story forward.

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