May 11, 2011

Fremantle - Anzac Day

25th April or Anzac Day

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey. It now more broadly commemorates all those who died and served in military operations for their countries. Anzac Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tonga. It is no longer observed as a national holiday in Samoa.

As I was in Perth during the Easter Holidays I took the opportunity to see how ANZAC day was celebrated. I chose to go to Fremantle for the day. There was a traditional dawn service at Monument Hill but I gave that a miss and instead waited for the parade at about ten which went through the inner city, and a ceremony on the Esplanade. The veterans went to their local clubs to have their drinks and lunch. It was good for me as I had a lot of fun taking photos of people around me. Fremantle was suddenly very different in mood.

Fremantle Ports staff handed out hundreds of flags again this year, which "added colour to festive and reflective mood of the day".

Soldiers marching smartly down the main road in Fremantle.

Everyone's out to see the parade....In Oz people are very mobile including those in wheelchairs.

Mounted Police.

Here is a free spirit..enjoying his walk down the road...after the parade....He creates quite a stir...charming in this strides.

The Bagpipes Band....

Two old vintage cars joined the parade......this reminds me of the cars owned by the timber tycoons of Sibu.

As the soldiers marched past I wonder what many Sibu people aged 80 and above would feel as the
Allied Forces came to "free" Sarawak from the Japanese in 1945.

Most of the local people in Sibu and in general in Sarawak who are now over 80 years of age would remember their role as "local resistance" against the Japanese. Formally the Japanese surrendered to the Australian Army in Kuching on 11th September 1945.

Life after the Japanese occupation did not immediately return to normal as the Rajah did not return in "triumph". He stayed away until 1946 while the interim Australian Military Administration (11th September 1945 - 15th April 1946)helped rule Sarawak.

The Japanese prisoners were taken but had to be protected from the anger of the local population. The locals were glad that those found guilty received death penalty.

When Rajah Vyner returned from Australia in 1946, he announced his intention to cede Sarawak to Britain. Perhaps he was too tired of ruling a native colony or perhaps he was worried that his coffers were getting low in resources. It seemed at that time his thoughts were not made known to those around him.

The British Government sent two Malay-speaking Members of Parliament to Sarawak to ascertain whether the people wanted cession. I wonder whether most of the people knew what the discussion was about. The Sarawak Council Negri which was mainly made up of Malay in membership and a few officials of the Rajah's men took three days to discuss cession.

19 for vs 16 against - Sarawak became a British Crown Colony on 1st July 1946. Nothing much was written about the proceedings and the real feelings of the Third Rajah were never made known.

The Australian forces moved out of Sarawak. Later a fair bit of  Aussie connection with Sarawak could be seen via the Colombo Plan and the Commonwealth. Many Sarawakians have been educated in Australia and perhaps just as many have migrated to Down Under.

ANZAC Day would see its 100th Anniversary in 2015. The families of the fallen heroes will come out and have a good day!!


Ann said...

when I was in pri school, the aussie, kiwi soldiers made their barracks next to our school. We were told off for being HIAU when we went to talk to them.

Were they there when you were in school, or heheheh, you missed out talking to Aussie hunks.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

I think they were gone by the time I knew how to hiau....hahahaha. Otherwise I might have "followed" one home to Oz...hahahaha nope my nose was in the books...Mum used to remind us that raising children was better as it gave us freedom from household chores and a difficult mother in law....wise lady there.

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