Transport Minister Murray Criddle today presented funding of $75,000 to the Rotary Club of Geraldton towards a national memorial to the HMAS Sydney.
Presenting the cheque on behalf of Regional Development Minister Hendy Cowan, Mr Criddle described the memorial as an innovative project of national significance which would highlight an important chapter in the Mid-West region’s rich maritime heritage.
“On November 19, 1941, one of Australia’s greatest maritime tragedies took place off the coast near Geraldton when the RAN Cruiser HMAS Sydney II engaged an armed German raider and was sunk. The 645 man crew perished without a trace, representing about one third of RAN losses for World War II. The loss has never been nationally commemorated,” the Minister said.
He noted Geraldton’s strong link with HMAS Sydney.
“HMAS Sydney visited Geraldton on three occasions during the war for rest and recreation,” Mr Criddle said.
“The City of Geraldton held civic receptions, the men put on a concert for the townspeople, played sporting matches with the locals and visited their homes as guests.”
The funding provided today will enable one of the major components of the memorial, the Wall of Remembrance, to be completed for a national dedication ceremony to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the sinking of the HMAS Sydney in November next year.
Mr Criddle paid tribute to the Rotary Club of Geraldton HMAS Sydney Memorial Project Committee of Richard Larriera, Jim Patterson, Kevin Green, Greg Cooper, Brian Cooper, Beverley Davidson and Glenys McDonald.
He also acknowledged the role of the Mid-West Development Commission.
“The commission has been a strong advocate of the memorial and has supported this project through the funding process on the basis of quality of life outcomes and the economic benefits from increased tourism through a focus on the region’s outstanding maritime heritage,” the Minister said.
Mr Cowan said such projects highlighted the innovation of communities in the rural sector.
“Helping communities to help themselves is one of the underlying principles of the Western Australian Government’s Regional Development Policy launched earlier this year,” he said.
“The $75,000 funding towards the HMAS Sydney memorial is provided under the Regional Development Policy Implementation Projects Scheme.
“This scheme is part of the Government’s commitment to implement that Policy and provide the opportunity for a significant number of projects in a wide range of areas to receive assistance.”
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