Remembrance Park recognises strong history since early 1900s

BRIGHTON celebrated an historic ANZAC Day event with the official opening of its new Remembrance Park this year. The site was the venue for the municipality’s 11am service on ANZAC Day, the first time it has been used since the Park’s re-development.

The new Remembrance Park project was managed by Brighton Council’s manager of development services James Dryburgh.

Prior to Anzac Day, the media was invited to view the new Remembrance Park with from left Brighton Mayor Tony Foster with former Army Camp resident Tony Coleman and historian Reg Watson.

The 11am service saw a fantastic turnout with community representatives and Brighton residents attending despite some inclement weather.

Following the official proceedings, a family day was held with lots of games for in which children and adults could participate.

Cr Foster said Remembrance Park acknowledged, not only brave service men and women, but also the range of uses of the historic army camp site over the past century.

He said the name and theme of the Remembrance Park helped to ensure it would become as inclusive a place as possible – a place for any local or visitor to enjoy.

“Remembrance Park is an ideal place not only for the ANZAC ceremony but for a host of other events. Likewise, the larger site will be able to facilitate a wide range of large and small events as it is developed accordingly, over the coming years,” Cr Foster said.

Remembrance Park site saw the campaign and recruitment of soldiers for the First Expeditionary Force who trained there from mid August until October 20 1914 when they embarked from Hobart on the transport vessels ‘Geelong’ and ‘Katuma’ to go to Gallipoli.

“However at this time it was decided to move the training camp to Claremont.

Authorities at the time said the Brighton‐Pontville site was unsuitable, because of the inadequate water supply and other disadvantages such as distance from the capital city.

“Nevertheless, the Brighton site played an integral part in Tasmania’s history over the following 100 years.

“In 1931 this site became southern Tasmania’s first aerodrome, where the Royal Mail was delivered with one of those pilots being none other than the great Sir Charles Kingsford-­‐Smith. During that year, the first Empire Mail flight to England was undertaken by Australian National Airlines.”

With the advent of the Second World War, in 1939 the Commonwealth Government of Australia acquired the land for a permanent army camp.

“Here many thousands of Tasmanians completed their military training before taking off for the battlefields either in North Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific.”

The camp’s role changed in February 1944 when it housed 850 Italian Prisoners of War for two years.

“After the war ended in 1945, refugees from Europe were housed here and in 1952 it became the Tasmanian home for National Service Training,” Cr Foster said.

“Following the Tasmanian bush fires of 1967 it was used as shelter for people left homeless by the disaster. In 1999 under the name of ‘Tasmanian Safe Haven Centre’ the camp housed in excess of 400 refugees from war-­‐torn Kosovo in Eastern Europe.

“And in past years it has been used for cadet training, not only Army cadets but also those from the Royal Australian Air Force, and many Tasmanians fondly remember their days in camp at Brighton.

“So this site has a long, long history, full of notable events and a never ending cast of colourful characters who have passed through its gates.

“Sadly the camp it is no more and an amazing piece of Tasmanian military and social history has passed.

“While it may be the end of an era it is very important that the Tasmanian community does not lose its memory of this incredible part of our heritage. We believe Remembrance Park is a very apt name.”