Centenary of Armistice Day – Re-enactment of 1918 celebrations in Orange – Official speeches
Frank Mullholland (Town Clerk):
Good morning everybody. I am Frank Mullholland, Town Clerk of Orange and it is my pleasure to be master of ceremonies on this momentous day. How magnificent that we can finally come together and celebrate peace after so many years of conflict and heartbreak. Please join with me in welcoming our Mayor, Ald W E Bouffler.
W E Bouffler (Mayor):
Fellow-Australians, we have gathered together today to celebrate the signing of the armistice. Peace has been obtained after more than four long years of war. During this time we have made Australian history, and we have broken the hearts of mothers across the nation in order to uphold the Empire’s flag and defend our civilisation. We are indeed thankful to know that the armistice has been signed. It is an armistice the like of which has never been seen before.
During the terrible conflict new records have been reached and have been broken, and the best traditions of our nation have been achieved in the air, in the field and on the sea. The implements of destruction employed by the enemy have never been known before, and, I trust, will never be heard of again.
Though there are many sad hearts today, the sacrifices our boys have made, and the sacrifices our people have made have not been made in vain. I trust that this day will mark the end of all wars. May such a conflict never be entered into again. The sacrifice of our brave boys will not be forgotten on their return. I will do all I possibly can for our brave soldiers
E T McNeilly (former Mayor):
Some time ago someone said, “McNeilly and his nine nephews will win the war.” I wish to say that McNeilly and his nine nephews have helped to win the war. I am proud to belong to the British Empire, which has a navy that has carried 20 million men and only lost 5,000 in the face of submarines and mines. I rejoice to be an Australian; our army did not retreat one inch during the whole war.
I wish to pay tribute to the schools, the women of Orange and the councillors, all of whom had a relative on service. When each boy comes home from the war we will be able to look them in the face and say that they have done their duty. I urge every one of you to do your best for the boys on their return.
Today cannot go by, without paying tribute to the late Lord Kitchener, General Birdwood (who has done so much for our boys), and expressing sympathy with the parents of deceased soldiers. Have a thought for the boys that are gone for ever from amongst us.
Canon Taylor (Holy Trinity Church):
Today we are celebrating a peace the like of which had never before been laid down in the history of the world. Australia has become famous for the bravery of its sons, who have fought to preserve their nationhood for generations to come.
We are thankful to Almighty God for guiding them so successfully, and for all those people who have done so much to secure this armistice.
One of the most glorious outcomes is that the British Empire now stands to be the strongest empire the world has ever seen. Belgium, Serbia, Rumania and other Allied nations look to the Union Jack as a symbol of their freedom. During four years of awful struggle, the blood of brave men has been well spent. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who were willing to sacrifice their lives.
The memory of those who have died in this war will be written indelibly in history. I pray for a League of Nations, the formation of which will prevent a future war. Britain on one side and America on the other will need to stand together to maintain their Christian freedom. The hope of the future lies in the maintenance of the Union Jack.
Rev Walkden Brown (Methodist Church):
1 Praise ye the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul.
2 While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.
3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:
6 Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:
7 Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The Lord looseth the prisoners:
8 The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous:
9 The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
10 The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord.
I would like to acknowledge the help that everyone has given our soldiers by sending them regular letters from home. I trust that when they return each and every one of us will fight for them as they have fought for us and render them every assistance.
Rev J C McDonald (Presbyterian Church):
We are here to give thanks to the Almighty God for His great goodness to us all during the war.
Our memories go back to the earliest days of the war, of the heroic defence put up by the Belgians, who risked their very existence rather than be dishonoured. We remember the glorious deeds of the Allies, and thank God for the patience and steadfastness of those who stood in defence.
We are thankful to our leaders in peace, and everyone who has contributed to today’s success. Again and again the enemy was on the point of victory; and again and again their armies were defeated and pushed back.
The 11th day of November 1918 will be the most memorable day in the history of the British Empire. Our hearts are full of joy
Rev Father Brosnan (St Joseph’s Catholic Church):
Today we must not forget to give our thanks to God. If there is one person more than any, other who appreciates peace it is the minister of God. Four years ago war broke out and with it sorrow came to this country. Ministers have felt like culprits stealing into homes, their fingers seeming to drip with the blood, the shedding of which they had come to announce.
Thank God it has come to an end. Our duty of prayer should go further; we must pray for a lasting peace.