Past and present Australian Defence Force Reservists from all three services paraded on Hobart’s waterfront on Sunday 6 July. Simultaneously around 20,000 Reservists marched at 20 other locations around Australia.
The Tasmanian Reservists were joined by local dignitaries including the Premier of Tasmania, the Hon. Will Hodgman MP, the Lord Mayor of Hobart, Alderman Damon Thomas and the Mayor of Launceston, Alderman Albert van Zetten.
Senior Australian Defence Force representatives included Colonel Steve Carey RFD ADC representing the commander of the Army’s 2nd Division, Major General Steve Smith AM CSC RFD, Parade Commander Lieutenant Colonel Paul Grey, Wing Commander Dale Watson and Commander Stacey Porter, Commanding Officer, Navy Headquarters Tasmania.
The commemoration was not only to honour past and currently serving Reservists, but also acknowledge the support of their partners and their employers.
Colonel Carey addressed the gathering, referring to the Tasmanian volunteers who departed from Hobart’s Ocean Pier as part of Australia’s first contingent to enter the First World War.
“Almost 100 years ago, on 20 October 1914, 1000 Tasmanians departed from here and 400 of them were killed in action,” Colonel Carey said.
Many of the descendants of those who sailed from Hobart one hundred years ago were in attendance at the ceremony.
Local choir, Men in Black, treated the assembled crowd with a rendition of Tasmania’s own anthem, seldom heard since the days of Federation in 1901. They then led the gathering in the Australian National Anthem, accompanied by the combined Tasmanian contingents of the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy Bands.
A commemorative plaque (a replica of one lost when Ocean Pier was destroyed by a fire in 1948) was unveiled in memory of those who sailed aboard the transports ships Geelong and Katuna to join the First Division, Australian Infantry Forces in 1914.