A day of community ceremonies for Remembrance Day started bright and early in Mount Isa on Saturday, November 11, marking 99 years since the Great War began.
Army officers led a fitness exercise on the Civic Centre lawn from 7.30 to 8.30am, including a warm up, beep test and stretches.
Major Jeremy Barraclough smashed his beep test in 10 minutes.
“This is a component of the pre-investment fitness assessment. As the levels increase the cadence increases so you have to pick up a bit of speed as you go,” Major Barraclough said.
“After you enter the defence forces, you get a regular test every six months or 12 months, and that is push-ups, sit-ups and a 2.4km run, depending on your gender and age group.”
At 9am there was a ceremony at Sunset Cemetery where three new metal signs were unveiled, to honour the lives of fallen service people buried there.
The display was funded by Glencore Mount Isa Mines and Mount Isa City Council.
Stephen Carrington unveiled the new signs with Mount Isa Mines’ CEO, Matt O’Neill.
At Mount Isa cenoptaph at 10.30am, residents gathered for the main ceremony marking Remembrance Day.
Returned serviceman, Tony Smith, welcomed all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and acknowledged the traditional owners of the land, the Kalkatungu people.
“Remembrance Day is a ceremony to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country,” Mr Smith said.
“Today we pay our respects to those who never returned home.”
Mr Smith said that in November 1918 during the Great War, the Germans called for an armistice and accepted the Allied terms of unconditional surrender.
“This had been the most devastating conflict the world had ever known, hence the name ‘The Great War’ or, ‘War to end all Wars’,” he said.
“On November 11 1918 the guns at the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of war.
“Sadly we have not seen the end of war. However since that armistice the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month has been universally associated with the remembrance of those killed in conflict, then and since.”
Father Mick Lowcock told of his own family connection to a departed soldier in Belgium.
“I had the opportunity in June to visit Ypres in Belgium, because a great uncle of mine from Bowen had enlisted in the Australian Army in 1916 at the age of 22 and was posted, eventually departing from Brisbane,” Father Lowcock said.
“On September 26, 1917, he with 30,000 other Australians joined the allied forces at Polygon Wood. And that very day he arrived, he was killed, and his body was never recovered.
“Being a great uncle, and being 100 years since he died, it was a great opportunity to gather to remember those allied soldiers who have died.
“Our Remembrance Day is remembrance of all those who have been killed. 38,000 casualties in that eight weeks alone in that little part of Belgium. We remember all the wars since,” Father Lowcock said.
Army Major for the 51st Battalion Far North Queensland Regiment, Jeremy Barraclough, recited the John McCrae poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
Representatives from community groups, schools, and individuals were then invited to lay wreaths at the base of the cenotaph on the Mount Isa Civic Centre lawn.
The ode was then read by Mr Tony Smith, before the guards departed and a moment’s silence was observed.
“They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them,” Mr Smith said.