Commemoration go-ahead

Lobbying by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, MHR Melissa Parke and MLA Simone McGurk has secured a World War I commemoration event.
Lobbying by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, MHR Melissa Parke and MLA Simone McGurk has secured a World War I commemoration event.

In 1914, Fremantle and Albany were the two major ports from which the Australian soldiers left for the war and while Albany is in the midst of planning a federal commemoration on November 1, Fremantle had been overlooked.

Lobbying of the state and federal governments by Fremantle MHR Melissa Parke and MLA Simone McGurk has resulted in the State Government giving a local commemoration its support.

Ms Parke said commemorative events would include a camp at Blackboy Hill where troops mustered and a train journey to Fremantle that would give schools and community groups an opportunity to line the tracks and re-create the farewell given as the troops headed for the wharf.

‘The Fremantle event and train journey will be the principal opportunity for most people in metropolitan WA to participate in this very significant commemorative occasion, which is an appropriate and logical entr´┐Że to the main event in Albany the following day,’ she said.

Ms McGurk said it was important that Fremantle be acknowledged in events commemorating the 100 years since WA troops left for World War I.

‘Victoria Quay was the point of departure for all WA troops and so was the last place any of those soldiers would have seen their families,’ she said.

‘Centenary events in Fremantle will be accessible for a lot of people in the metropolitan area and, with an emphasis on the participation of schools, it should have a great atmosphere.’

Veterans Minister Joe Francis said they had worked closely with the Returned and Services League WA, City of Fremantle, Fremantle Ports and a number of federal departments to ensure the departure was appropriately marked.