Muara, Sunday 14 December 2008
- The Brunei-Australia Memorial was unveiled yesterday to honour
Australian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the World War II
for Brunei to be the liberated nation-state today and symbolises the
friendship between the two countries.
Two World War II diggers - Bill Corey and Steve Gooch - who represented
the 20,000 men who landed on Brunei shores as part of the final push by
Australians in the Pacific six decades ago, unveiled a memorial plaque
at Muara Beach yesterday.
Muara Beach, known during the operation as "Green Beach", was the
landing site for many Australian servicemen in an operation called "Oboe
6" to retake Brunei and Labuan at the end of World War II.
The words "1945 In Memory" were engraved in English, Malay and Jawi onto
the polished green marble stone plaque in commemoration of efforts of
the Australian 9th Division in June 1945, as well as the cooperation
between the people of Brunei and Australia.
The memorial began in Labuan as the six ageing servicemen paid their
respects to their fellow servicemen who had been killed and were laid to
rest in Labuan. On Muara Beach, the ceremony began with a Call to
Commemoration followed by prayers and readings by some of the veterans.
Wreaths were later laid prior to a moment of silence to honour the
Brunei's Deputy Minister of Defence Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu
Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka Hj Mohammad Yasmin bin Hj
Umar said that since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the ties
between the two countries have developed in strength.
This was indicated by regular interactions with increasing avenues of
cooperation in the areas of culture, education, health, trade, air
services, counter-terrorism and defence.
"Australia has also been, until now, very forthcoming in its policy
towards this region and we are really appreciative of that," he added.
Pehin Dato Hj Mohd Yasmin said that the memorial also commemorated the
soldiers as they played a significant role in establishing the initial
ties between our two countries.
"This commemoration allows us to acknowledge the struggle, the hurt and
pain, the courage and bravery of the 20th Australian Infantry Brigade of
the Ninth division, who had, with the cooperation of the people of
Brunei on June 10, 1945 landed on the beaches at both ends of Brunei Bay
and successfully led the allied liberation of Brunei," the Deputy
"This memorial serves as a reminder for us Bruneians and especially for
our future generations of the importance of our friendship and bonds
with the Australians and how vital it is for us to uphold and strengthen
these relations, knowing how significant Australia's contributions are
to our country."
He went on to say that the memorial could be seen as another defining
moment in the course of the growing relationship, especially since the
ties of diplomacy between Brunei and Australia is entering its silver
jubilee next year.
Meanwhile The Honorable Alan Griffin MP, Minister for Austrlian Veteran
Affairs also speaking at the event said that "The memorial encapsulates
the fact that we have an excellent relationship between the two
countries," "It also symbolises the strong ties that have been built
particularly over the last 20 years as Brunei has grown and taken its
place amongst the nations of this region," he added.
He said that the memorial has been long time coming - a notion
reiterated by most of the veterans. But it was worth the wait, he added.
"It provides an excellent focus for those who would come here for a
moment of quiet reflection to recall what took place 63 years ago... the
courage and sacrifices of those who came to liberate Brunei," Griffin
said, adding that it also shows the level of support Australian troops
got from the people of Brunei during that time.