Standing up for Canberra

Friends of Manuka Pool

In their haste to cool down or to do laps, many Canberrans would miss a very inconspicuous but very special bronze plaque that hangs in the foyer of the Manuka swimming pool. It's a plaque that was unveiled in 1947 and lists the names of nine members of the Canberra Amateur Swimming Club who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Second World War: Frank Browning, Mick Clemens, Bill Dullard, Wally Hall, Ian Ingram, Lindsay Knowles, Eric Peterson, Ian Ray and Harold Thorpe.

These young men were high school graduates and university students. They were sons, they were brothers and they were boyfriends—they were much loved. Lindsay's brother, 94-year-old Merv Knowles, is with us here today. Thank you so much for joining us, Merv, with your wife, Beth.

In Merv's words, 'They went to the Middle East with 3 Squadron and didn't come back.' Merv is joined by Martin Shafron, nephew of Bill, and Rebecca Scoola and Kasey Thomkins from the Friends of Manuka Pool. After 71 years of the plaque on the wall, the Friends of Manuka Pool received a grant from DVA to restore the memory of these nine young men and the refurbished plaque was unveiled on the Canberra Day weekend. Thank you to the Friends for preserving, protecting and rededicating the roll honouring the service and spirit of these young men lost to a young Canberra. We will remember them. Lest we forget.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER:  I acknowledge our visitors in the gallery.