I think we are all aware of the role our Veteran Relatives achieved during their time with the 2/5 Australian General Hospital Unit during WW2. This has been widely shared over the years.
But what was to be the program after the war?
I have been probing through the old Association Minutes Books, and I am going to share a few moments of these with you. It appears that the first meeting was held on the 11 March 1946. No minutes were recorded at this time, but at the next meeting on 27 March 1946, J.C.Belisario was elected as President. From this date and leading up to the meeting of 16 June 1950 when Don Mould was President, several changes had taken place. Mainly, women were officially invited to join the association and a move was under way to produce a book detailing the involvement of the Unit in the five theatres of war.
The urge to print a book telling of the history of the Unit prevailed and did so until 28 December 1971 when it was discarded. In 1968 when Vince Egan was elected as Secretary, things began to change dramatically and with the determination of Vince and Innes Brodziak, the first edition was finally published in 1988, forty two years after the initial commencement of the project.
Vince was to hold the secretarial position for the next forty two years and it was during this time that the whole system of membership and recording of minutes and correspondence dramatically changed for the better. The amount of letters, photos, notes and paperwork collated by Vince was amazing. And all initially without the aid of computers! In 2001 when members of the “next generation” began taking an interest in Association Matters, it was decided that original written records be converted to Computer Files.
In 2005 Vince suggested a second edition of the unit book, Proudly We Served, and subsequently in 2007 the 2nd Edition was on the shelves. Because of the success of the book, it was then decided to try and put together a website. This was a momentous task and took nearly three years to achieve. The website was finally launched in 2010.
As a result of these ventures, we, the current Committee have been inundated with photos, stories, post cards and letters. Our current collection of photos, most of which are displayed in some form or other, now totals around seven thousand. Many of these are duplicated, but it shows the enthusiasm of those veterans, the doctors, nurses, nurses’ aides, POWs and the enlisted men who volunteered this material, wished to see the memory of their sacrifices pass on to future generations.
In 2011 it was decided to purchase a plaque and a Huon Pine Tree which were planted in the Remembrance Walkway at Mt Annan Botanical Gardens. This was accomplished, and a ceremony was held on the 6 March 2012.
On this day 31 July 2016, another ceremony was held to commemorate the men and women who served with the 2/5 Australian General Hospital during WW2.
Thirty two people attended this function to gather for a short ceremony and then luncheon at the Mt Annan Facility.
So just to summarise:
The first meeting to establish the Association was in 1946
The first edition of Proudly We Served was published in 1988
The second edition of Proudly We Served was published in 2007.
The Association Website was produced in 2010.
The Mt Annan Huon Pine Ceremony was in March 2012.
The Mt Annan Reunion Ceremony in July 2016.
So if my maths are correct that gives the Association a 70 year history.
And that makes us all very proud to be here to celebrate this great and wonderful occasion.