Two remembrance ceremonies at Gladstone

Gladstone hosted two remembrance ceremonies to honour the signing of the Armistice to end World War I a century ago.

The first was on Friday when about 100 students gathered to plant white crosses at the war memorial in the main street.

Gladstone Ex-Service Personnel Group, led by Richard Stott, organised the commemorations.

The schools involved on Friday were St Joseph’s Catholic School, Gladstone Primary School and Gladstone High School.

The group made 260 crosses so the students and staff could make a poppy and put the name of either a nurse or soldier from the war on it. These were put in one big cross by all the students.

On display nearby was a collage of handmade replicas of World War I postcards made by Anne Gillett, some high school students and the quilters. One postcard humourously depicted “kangaroo feathers” – a joke at the expense of foreigners.

Mr Stott led the commemoration during which the Australian and New Zealand flags were raised from half-mast. About 180 attended.

“I hope we don’t have to commemorate any more wars in the next 100 years,” he said. The military museum beside the memorial was packed with items including a Howitzer gun and a 101-year-old banner once used for fundraising on Australia Day in 1917. Mr Stott said the crosses laid by the students had honoured servicemen and women from the district including Wirrabara through to Yacka and across to Huddleston, Crystal Brook and Caltowie.

The second service was at the memorial on Sunday when about 75 people attended, some from more than 200 kilometres away. Local priest Father Arthur Hackett gave a thought-provoking speech – his swansong after many addresses during the years.

Pipe Major Brian Erskine then played the tune The Battle Is Over. Sister Sandra Sears and Dalma Clogg recited Hymn of Peace that was first written and printed in The Daily Mail on November 11, 1918.

Mr Erskine then played Going Home. The names of all the fallen from Gladstone were then read out. Wreaths were laid – Valda Zanker, on behalf of Legacy, Mrs Monty Smith, service nurses, British Legion Cross, on behalf of the late Mr Mike Lugg, laid by Terry Higgins, Gladstone High School by Alyssa Crisp and Nikala Schmidt, on behalf of community, Richard Stott.

Some private tributes and crosses were then laid. Bill Stiller, ex-Royal Australian Navy World War II HMAS Australia, recited the Ode of Remembrance.

There was the Last post, a minute’s silence, Reveille and Benediction.

Mr Stott thanked Father Hackett for his contributions.