A special Anzac Memorial Service took place at the Brisbane Hebrew Congregation on 19 April to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Anzacs landing at Gallipoli. The event was attended by many dignitaries, senior Queensland and New South Wales representatives, both from the Jewish and wider Communities and, of course, descendants and relatives of those Queensland Jewish servicemen and women who served their country and the great cause of freedom 100 years ago.
Speeches were given to honour all those who have served Australia, as well as the soldiers from the Queensland Jewish Community. The speech by Peter Allen, Centenary of Anzac Jewish Program National Co-ordinator and member of the ECAJ Centenary of Anzac Planning Committee and NAJEX Board, brought this message home. From his research, he found that approximately 1,800 Australian Jewish soldiers, sailors and nurses served in WWI, 240 of whom were either Killed in Action or Died of Wounds. Some 110 of those Jewish soldiers were from Queensland, 15 of whom never came home. Of these 110, birth places included New Farm, The Valley and Kangaroo Point, as well as place names further afield, such as Toowoomba, Maryborough, Townsville, Charters Towers and even Cooktown – representing the full sweep of the ‘Sunshine State’. Of the estimated 250 Jewish Diggers on Gallipoli, of whom some 38 made the supreme sacrifice, about 22 enlisted and/or were born in Queensland, of whom four made the supreme sacrifice.
The Centenary of Anzac Jewish Program commissioned Commemorative memorial candles to be used at the Anzac Centenary commemorative service of the Jewish community in every State. They are to be used until the culminating event of the CoAJP in 2018, when they will be lit in Canberra on the Centenary of the Armistice, 11/11/2018. Whilst their colour is reminiscent of the cliffs and gullies at Gallipoli, the four candles not only represent the 3 Armed Services of the ADF and this special Anzac Centenary, but also represent the four generations of Australians that have passed the Anzac baton on, since Gallipoli.
Shalom Magazine would like to thank The Committee for CoAJP (Co-ordinator of Anzac Jewish Programme) for their wonderful efforts in organising such a special event.