Coonawarra commemorates Anzac Day in NT remote communities

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Todd Fitzgerald (author), Unknown (photographer)

Topic(s): Centenary of Anzac, HMAS Coonawarra, Anzac Day

Members of HMAS Coonawarra joined with the Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Army for an Anzac Day service in the remote community of Tomato Island in the Northern Territory. (photo: Unknown)
Members of HMAS Coonawarra joined with the Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Army for an Anzac Day service in the remote community of Tomato Island in the Northern Territory.

HMAS Coonawarra personnel joined with residents of remote communities in the Top End on Anzac Day to honour the sacrifices made by all servicemen and women past and present.

The officers and sailors took part in commemorations in Numbulwar, Ngukurr and Tomato Island.

The largely Aboriginal communities are more than 500 kilometres from Darwin and accessible by four-wheel-drive or air only.

Commanding Officer Coonawarra, Commander Viktor Pilicic, said Anzac Day was important to all Australians and it was vital Navy visit these communities.

"The Anzacs helped forge our national identity and define our national character. They left a strong and enduring legacy of courage, mateship and sacrifice that still distinguishes and unites Australians irrespective of their origins," Commander Pilicic said.

Mrs Rita Hamilton from the Tomato Island community said it brought tears to her eyes to have serving members attend the community commemoration.

Officers and sailors from Coonawarra also participated in services in Jabiru and Adelaide River.

The Adelaide River commemoration is regarded by many as a symbol of the Anzac spirit in the Northern Territory with the town's population of 350 swelling by 3,000 each April 25.

Chief Petty Officer Tony Thomas organised Coonawarra's support to the Anzac Day services in the remote communities.

"We have visited a number of local schools during the visits to not only pass on the Anzac message to the local children but also enhance their understanding of what Navy does, our people and our culture," he said.

"At the same time these visits expose our Navy members to the largely indigenous population who live in these remote communities and their lifestyles."

Chief Petty Officer Thomas runs the Navy Community Engagement Program in the Northern Territory.

The remote community visits included the following Coonawarra Officers and Sailors: Lieutenant Commander Steve Alchin, Lieutenant Tim Quadrio, Lieutenant Ross Harris, Chief Petty Officer Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain (ML-SC) Tony Thomas, Petty Officer ML-SC Chain Dion Georgopoulos, Able Seaman ML-SC Jake Lucan and Seaman Maritime Logistics - Personnel (ML-P) Brianna McArthur.