THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
26 July 2011
Retracing the stories and experiences of Australians who left our shores to fight in the First World War will be part of a new interactive centre in Western Australia being supported today by the Australian Government.
In Albany, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Centenary of Anzac, Warren Snowdon announced the Australian Government would provide $250,000 for a scoping study to help develop an Anzac Interpretive Centre in Albany.
“This is the first project we’ve announced support for in the lead-up to the Anzac Centenary, and we’ve chosen Albany in Western Australia because it holds great significance in our wartime history – and that’s not well known by many Australians.
“The first convoy that departed for the First World War left from Albany in November 1914 and included ships carrying thousands of our soldiers, seamen, airmen and nurses from the eastern states as well as our friends from New Zealand.
“The ships converged on King George’s Sound on the south coast of Western Australia before assembling with vessels carrying troops from the west. Together the convoy of 36 ships then sailed overseas for training exercises and onto the shores of Gallipoli and later the Western Front.”
Mr Snowdon said the Anzac Interpretive Centre will capture the history of the town with the stories of Australians who left on the Australian Imperial Force convoys.
“For many, leaving the shores of Australia was part of a great adventure into the unknown and a journey full of exhilaration to fight for the British Empire and its allies.
“It was a journey that would be bitter sweet, with many leaving families and loved ones behind, never to see them or the shores of Australia again,” he said.
Once developed, the Anzac Interpretive Centre will be a place of education for all Australians and in particular our future generations.
“The interactive technology of the Centre will allow visitors to the centre – either online or in person – to retrace the story of an Australian digger or nurse from the moment they left Australian shores to where their First World War experience took them to.
“I’d like to thank the people of Albany for their commitment to this project and I look forward to hearing of the progress made as we head towards 2014,” Mr Snowdon said.
The Centre in Albany was a key focus in the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary’s report to the Government.
“As we approach the Anzac Centenary the Australian Government is focused on developing educational projects that are accessible to all Australians and building awareness of our wartime heritage,” he said.
Today’s announcement follows the recent appointment of Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC (Ret’d) as Chair of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board who will progress further development of the centenary planning.
For more information on plans to mark the Anzac Centenary visit www.anzaccentenary.gov.au.
Editor’s note: Images of the Minister’s visit to Albany in April and on this occasion will be available in the Image Gallery at: http://minister.dva.gov.au/
Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203