WAR LOSSES: Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience deputy envoy Major General Simone Wilkie with Tamworth’s Warrant Officer Class 2 Tyrone Cashin. Photo: Gareth Gardner 260416GGA19CROWDS have already begun streaming through the doors of the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre as the Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience opened yesterday.
Kamilaroi elder Len Waters welcomed invited guests to the official opening, highlighting the military service of fellow Kamilaroi men, including his father and uncle.
His father, Donald Edward Waters, was a private who fought in the jungle and was part of the occupational forces in Japan.
His uncle, Leonard Victor Waters, was the first and only Aboriginal fighter pilot in World War II and flew a Kitty Hawk in the Pacific. Mr Waters said the young men of the Kamilaroi answered the call to go to war because of their genuine will to participate.
“In times of war, their mates could not see their colour,” he said.
“Even though it was a time of division, his friends still called him a mate when they returned.”
Mr Waters said Kamilaroi men continued to answer the call.
“Looking around at all the colours here and uniforms, it makes me proud that my family has been a part of that,” he said.
New England MP and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce officially opened the exhibition, speaking of his family’s military history and the effects that service has had on communities and individuals throughout the region.
Mr Joyce said the men who served in World War I and since were just regular people, like those of us who live in the region today.
“They only ever ask one thing of us – ‘don’t forget us’,” he said.
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said the city was proud to host the exhibition, with the centenary of Anzac important to the region.
Deputy envoy to the experience, Major General Simone Wilkie, said the most important aspects of the experience were the stories it told.
She said Tamworth had an incredible military history, so the exhibition would be of interest to the region.
Major General Wilkie said people would get a feel for the contribution of the regions and the effect war had had on communities across the country.
“Every single town has a memorial to the people who fell,” she said.
The exhibition is open until May 1, with visitors asked to book their free tickets online.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.