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John Howard’s Address At The State Funeral Service For Alec Campbell

A State Funeral Service for Alec William Campbell was held at The Cathedral Church of St. David, in Hobart, today.

Campbell died on May 6, 2002. He was 103 years old and the last surviving Australian participant in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 in World War I.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, addressed the funeral service.

A document prepared by the Department of Veterans Affairs for the State Funeral is shown below. [Read more…]


Alec Campbell, Gallipoli’s Last Survivor, Farewelled

Alec Campbell, the last known Australian participant in the Gallipoli campaign of World War I has been farewelled at a State Funeral in St. David’s Cathedral in Hobart.

CampbellCampbell died last week, aged 103.

Tributes were given by the Prime Minister, John Howard, the Premier of Tasmania, Jim Bacon, and members of Alec Campbell’s family.

Around the nation, a minute’s silence, largely organised by talkback radio comperes, was observed in public places, worksites, schools and on radio and television.

Campbell was 16 years old when he enlisted as Private No. 2731 in the 15th Batallion of the first Australian Infantry Force (AIF) in 1915. Like many others, he falsified his age. He arrived on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey on November 2, in the last months of the protracted, and ultimately futile, battle that had been waged there since the dawn landing on April 25, 1915. Six thousand Australians and New Zealanders had already died there. ‘The kid’ carried water and ammunition to the soldiers at the front. Becoming ill with typhus, mumps that developed into Bell’s palsy, and other illnesses, he was evacuated from Gallipoli during the allied withdrawal in December 1915. [Read more…]


Government Offers State Funeral For Alec Campbell

Campbell Campbell

Alec Campbell

1899-2002

The Last Anzac

This is the text of a statement released by the Prime Minister, John Howard.

The passing of Alec Campbell marks an important moment in the history of our nation.

Alec Campbell was the last known survivor of the Gallipoli campaign, not just in Australia but anywhere in the world.

He was the last living link to that group of Australians that established the ANZAC legend.

Alec Campbell was 103.

Of all the traditions that Australians hold dear, none is held more dearly than the ANZAC tradition. It is a story of great valour under fire, unity of purpose and a willingness to fight against the odds that has helped to define what it means to be an Australian.

Alec Campbell was typical of a generation of Australians who, through their sacrifice, bravery and decency, created a legacy that has resonated through subsequent decades and generations.

He enlisted in June 1915 at the age of 16, serving on the Gallipoli peninsula in November and December 1915 with the 15th Battalion.

I had the honour of meeting Alec Campbell on several occasions. In April 2000 he was honoured at a ceremony at the Australian War Memorial, handing over a flag that I had the privilege of taking to Gallipoli commemorations that year.

On behalf of the nation I express my condolences to his family and my great respect and admiration for the service that he gave and the legend that he helped to create. As a mark of a grateful nation a state funeral will be offered to his family.


ANZAC Day Service: Melbourne

This is the ANZAC Day service from Melbourne’s War Memorial.

Speakers at the service include Tony Charlton, John Landy and Bruce Ruxton. [Read more…]


Alexander Downer: Anzac Day Speech At Lone Pine

This is the text of the speech given by Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the Lone Pine Anzac Day Service, Gallipoli, Turkey.

Alexander DownerOn this quiet day, it is hard for anyone to comprehend the horrors endured here 86 springs ago. Harder, still, for those of my age and younger, most of whom have been spared the tragedy of war that was the terrible burden of our elders.

And that is why we come to honour the Anzacs, and all the men and women who have followed in that greatest of traditions. To give thanks for their sacrifice, on which the peace and freedom and prosperity of modern Australia is built. To honour their courage, which has inspired succeeding generations to meet their own challenges. To renew our own faith in the unquenchable human spirit, typified by their unflagging humour in the face of grinding hardship. To learn again the true meaning of mateship. [Read more…]


Alexander Downer: Speech At Gallipoli Anzac Day Dawn Service

This is the text of the speech given by Alexander Downer, Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the Anzac Day Dawn Service, Gallipoli, Turkey.

Alexander DownerThis is a special time. The Dawn Service recalls that earlier dawn, eighty-six years ago, just as the first landings were made at Gallipoli, in the course of a bloody war that engulfed the world.

Gathered here today, to remember those who fought so gallantly on this fateful shore, are representatives from the countries of the soldiers who landed here – Britain, Canada, France, India, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. And we have gathered here, in peace, with the representatives of former adversaries – Turkey and Germany – whose soldiers fought as courageously as their foes. [Read more…]


Paul Keating: Funeral Service Of The Unknown Australian Soldier

This is the text of a speech given by Prime Minister Paul Keating at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, on Remembrance Day, 1993.

  • Listen to Keating’s Speech (6m)

Text of Prime Minister Paul Keating’s speech at the Funeral Service of the Unknown Australian Soldier

Unknown Soldier SpeechWe do not know this Australian’s name and we never will. We do not know his rank or his battalion. We do not know where he was born, or precisely how and when he died. We do not know where in Australia he had made his home or when he left it for the battlefields of Europe. We do not know his age or his circumstances – whether he was from the city or the bush; what occupation he left to become a soldier; what religion, if he had a religion; if he was married or single. We do not know who loved him or whom he loved. If he had children we do not know who they are. His family is lost to us as he was lost to them. We will never know who this Australian was.

Yet he has always been among those we have honoured. We know that he was one of the 45,000 Australians who died on the Western Front. One of the 416,000 Australians who volunteered for service in the First World War. One of the 324,000 Australians who served overseas in that war, and one of the 60,000 Australians who died on foreign soil. One of the 100,000 Australians who have died in wars this century.

He is all of them. And he is one of us. [Read more…]