Honouring our Legatees

10 August, 2023

Firstly, I'd like to identify wholeheartedly with the member for Bennelong's remarks. South Gippsland Legacy Group is marking the centenary of the wider Legacy movement with a commemoration at Coleman Park, Korumburra, on Saturday 10 September. Commencing in the aftermath of World War I, Legacy assists the widows and families of veterans. The beautiful town of Korumburra in my electorate is significant in Legacy's story because its founder, war hero Lieutenant-General Sir Stanley Savige, spent his formative years there attending Korumburra Primary School. Sir Stanley is honoured by the Stan Savige memorial gates at Coleman Park, which is the site of Korumburra's cenotaph. These gates were erected in 1955 by the Rotary Club of Korumburra, with incoming rotary district governor Bill Burch unveiling the commemorative plaque. Bill was also a founding member of South Gippsland Legacy.

The 2023 commemoration will begin with a march of veterans from the Lone Pine planted by Legacy in the park in 1981, through the memorial gates, to an adjoining Scout hall. That is symbolic too because the young Stan Savige was a Scout. Marchers will be led by pipers and flag-bearers, one of whom will be South Gippsland Legacy Group president legatee Phil Head. The entrance to the hall will be flanked by two life sized wire figures—one a soldier, the other a nurse. These have been crafted by legatees Tom and Sue Loughridge of Loch, who, between them, have served South Gippsland Legacy for nearly 70 years.

A commemorative plaque will be unveiled by long-standing South Gippsland legatee and Vietnam veteran Perry Neil of Korumburra. A talented woodworker, Perry made the lectern to be used on the day for the 1999 golden anniversary of South Gippsland Legacy. Created from blackwood grown on the local farm of a World War I digger, the lectern also features scales from the Lone Pine tree in Gallipoli. Some of the Legacy group's 180 widows drawn from Phillip Island to Foster will be attending the commemoration, as will descendants of Sir Stanley. Widows will be invited to light a candle in memory of their husbands, and pipers will play a lament during this part of the proceedings. Legatees Jane Ross and Kathie Surridge, the daughters of founding members of South Gippsland Legacy Bill Ross and Bluey Reilly, will also honour their legacy with candles. Bill was a legatee for 60 years. Current legatees say they are standing on the shoulders of giants. Indeed they are.

Lest we forget. I thank the amazing Jane Ross for pulling this piece together in celebration of Legacy's commemoration.

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Russell Broadbent MP
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