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Saturday, 18 April 2020
Government House, Sydney
Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC

Gordon Short was a war time photographer, renowned for his ability to capture the ‘action and warmth’ of the moment. And so it is with this photograph, taken in Park St in the city on 15 August 1945 and which appeared on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald, the next day.

 On the morning this photograph was taken, the Prime Minister had made the dramatically simple statement on radio that Japan had surrendered. It is fitting to show this image, which is very close to my heart, as I will explain, as we lead up to ANZAC Day.  

 This year the commemoration of our Defence personnel who have served and sacrificed for our Nation, will move inside our homes as we watch the live streaming of the dawn service from Canberra and our own commemorative service from the War Memorial in Hyde Park, later in the morning. We will remember them.  

 I have heard comparisons being made as we deal with COVID-19 with wartime conditions. It is as though we are fighting a dangerous enemy and we are certainly living with social and economic constraints.  

The comparison is not perfect, but there are similarities. We are facing a dangerous enemy – dangerous because this virus is life threatening.  And there are those on the ‘front line’, working to keep us safe: doctors, health workers, carers, cleaners, police, defence personnel, and so many others. We are truly grateful to them.  

I am sure that as we look forward to getting on top of the virus and having a safe community in which to live, the relief will be palpable. This is a true community effort and everyone is to be commended for playing their part.   Keep looking after yourselves and looking out for each other.

Now back to that photograph, where revellers hitched a ride down Park Street, rejoicing at the announcement of the end of the war.  The woman in the bottom left hand corner, is Lorna Mollie Beazley - my mother.  

We will remember them.

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