Fremantle and the ANZAC Centenary departure commemoration

It was a special day today in Fremantle with the ANZAC Centenary departure commemoration following the footsteps of WWI troops.

As a major port, Fremantle witnessed the departure of many of Australia’s 416,000 volunteer troops between 1914 and 1918.

 WA’s first goodbyes occurred one hundred years ago today on Saturday the 31st of October 1914.

That day thousands of Western Australians crowded into Fremantle port where we meet today to farewell the Ascanius and the Medic, the first troopships to depart with Western Australian servicemen.

1028 Western Australian men from the 11th Battalion boarded the Ascanius, joining the 10th Infantry Battalion from South Australia already onboard.

552  sailors and soldiers of the 12th Infantry Battalion and the 3rd Field Company Engineers embarked on the Medic, joining yet more troops from South Australia.

Both ships remained in Gage Roads until the early hours of Monday morning, when they steamed away to their rendezvous with the fleet of transport ships coming from Albany.

I was pleased that Freo was today able to commemorate this important event with so many relatives of the brave men who travelled this path 100 years ago.

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

6 Responses to Fremantle and the ANZAC Centenary departure commemoration

  1. Michael says:

    Please Brad, I don’t believe you not only got the date wrong on your speech, but you repeat the error here! It was Saturday 31st October, NOT Friday the 30th. A bit of care would be nice…

    • I did question my staff on this date and they assured me it was correct.
      I hope you also found the commemoration a special event.

      • Michael says:

        Hi Brad, yes, it was a very special event. However, as the speeches before and after yours clearly stated, the troops embarked on the ships on Saturday, the 31st of October 1914, not “Friday the 30th”. You have a wonderful staff that are doing amazing things to help people understand and commemorate their ancestor’s WWI experience, and who know this chronology back-to-front. With all due respect, I suspect that you may have asked them the wrong, and insufficient, question, and perhaps extrapolated too far. I hope that, since your blog is a matter of public record, you might set the record straight – and also unscramble the statistics you later gave in the same
        speech – we don’t want WWIII to erupt as a war with our ANZAC partners, New Zealand. THAT smacks of fratricide… but arguably you provided the provocation in your speech… 🙂

      • Michael
        The lovely staff who wrote the speech have apologised profusely for the date error. Thank you for picking up the mistake. I’ve updated the blog.
        Cheers. Brad.

  2. Michael says:

    Hi Brad, Thanks for setting the record straight on the date. Much appreciated! Apology accepted from whomever your speechwriters are (although I am sadly disappointed that you don’t write your own speeches). However there is still the issue of the statement you made which I referred to earlier: “The 37 troopships, carrying some 35,000 Australian troops, and the 9 escort vessels alongside them must have been a sight to see off Freo.” There’s 5 separate errors in that one sentence alone. In deference to those who fought and died on our behalf, and the descendants who honour them, could you correct those errors too?

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