A STATUE of a New Zealand soldier was erected on Sydney's Anzac Bridge yesterday opposite the statue of an Australian soldier that stands at the bridge's western end.
The statue will be unveiled today at a ceremony attended by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and NSW Premier Morris Iemma to honour New Zealand soldiers who fought alongside Australians.
NSW RSL president Don Rowe said a bottle of sand from Gallipoli has been placed underneath the bronze figure as a symbolic gesture.
Neville Berridge, representing New Zealand veterans, said it meant a lot to have the statue erected on one of Australia's most symbolic landmarks.
"Aussies and New Zealanders fought side by side and we need to keep that tradition alive. Anzac Day is becoming more important than Australia Day and Waitangi Day in New Zealand," Mr Berridge said.
About the statue, he said: "The New Zealand soldier wears a hat that is called a lemon squeezer and the Australian soldier wears a slouch hat and there is a slight difference in the uniform. Our soldier is also rumoured to be two inches [50milli- metres] taller than the Aussie soldier because of his hat.
"Another significance is that the Aussie soldier looks towards the sunset and the New Zealander will be watching the sunrise."
The Anzac Bridge will be closed in both directions between 5.30am and 10.30am today for the ceremony. The pedestrian and cycle path also will be closed between 8am and 10.30am for safety reasons.
Kiwis angered by Anzac statue lockout Monday, 28 April 2008
An Auckland couple barred from today's unveiling of a statue of a New Zealand soldier in Sydney say it soured what should have been a memorable occasion.
Prime Minister Helen Clark and New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma led the dedication ceremony on Anzac Bridge but were later bombarded with questions about why the public were shut out.
Police cordoned off the bridge to traffic and pedestrians for five hours so the morning ceremony, attended by a group of New Zealand returned servicemen, military personnel and dignitaries, could take place at the western end.
The statue was commissioned by the New Zealand Government who contributed $386,000 to its making.
Mike Waterhouse and his wife Glen crossed the Tasman to visit their daughter and grandchildren and were staggered to be turned away as they arrived to watch the unveiling.
"This was just a bit of a sock in the eye because it's a wonderful idea to put the New Zealand soldier on the other side (of the bridge), it makes you feel good with the Kiwi-Aussie thing," Mr Waterhouse said.
"To arrive here and find we weren't allowed in. . . there weren't a huge number of people and they were pretty harmless types, they weren't terrorists."
The large cable-stayed bridge, spanning Johnstons Bay between Pyrmont and Rozelle, connects the inner city with western suburbs. Mrs Waterhouse estimated about 200 people were turned away by police, some of them New Zealanders, before the bridge was reopened an hour after the ceremony.
Several were in tears.
"It was a bit emotional. A guy I was talking to lost two brothers in the war and he'd come over for this. It's a bit sad." Another to be barred was Gerald Somerville, of Dunedin, whose Sydney-based brother Alan, a dual citizen, sculpted the 4.2m bronze statue over 4½ months.
Said Mrs Waterhouse: "It's tainted the whole thing a bit, really." Miss Clark spotted the group of New Zealanders at the bottom of the bridge and stopped to wave at them when she was leaving the ceremony.
She was reluctant to comment later.
"It was an inter-departmental decision involving the New South Wales government and New Zealand officials," she said.
"They made the decisions, I'm afraid it hasn't got to my level and I'm sure it hasn't reached the Premier's either." Mr Iemma defended the shut-out.
"These are operational matters, safety and security. They're not matters that we get involved in. We take advice of security experts and police to ensure the safety of the public," he said.
The statue of the New Zealand World War 1 soldier, wearing the traditional lemon squeezer hat, faces the statue of the Australian soldier unveiled in 2000.
"Now he is joined by his mate, symbolising the extraordinary and close friendship between New Zealand and Australia in times of war and peace," Miss Clark said.
She said the bridge bore a name which carried a powerful symbolism of remembrance, mateship and nationhood for New Zealand and Australia, stretching back to the Gallipoli landing in 1915.
The statue was lowered into place yesterday after a handful of sand from Gallipoli was placed underneath it by Neville Berridge, vice-president of the New Zealand sub-branch of the NSW Returned and Services League.
Miss Clark and Mr Iemma both unveiled the statue's plaque today and laid wreaths after Aboriginal dancers and a Maori cultural group performed a welcome ceremony.
New Zealand Defence Force chaplain Mike Subritzky joined his Australian counterpart Ian Schneider in blessing the statue with holy water.
A minute's silence, the playing of the last post and a flypast from a Royal Australian Airforce aircraft completed the ceremony, before the flags of both countries were hoisted from half mast.
The ceremony was for invited guests it would appear. Security precautions disqualified the rest (plebs). These are the times we live in. I think the slant to the story is a shame on the reporter who apparently is not able to recognise 'a Royal Australian Airforce aircraft'. Or could that reporter be bothered to find out. Nitpicking I admit but the story is a very sad reflection on the reporter methinks.
Aussie Premier slated for barring public to NZ statue unveiling
SYDNEY - New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma has been accused of having "no idea" about the Anzac spirit after the public was barred from the unveiling of a statue of a New Zealand soldier on Sydney's Anzac Bridge.
State opposition leader Barry O'Farrell today said those barred from attending yesterday's ceremony even included the sculptor's brother.
He said such events should be open to the public.
"The Anzac spirit is not reserved for officialdom or politicians, it is a national treasure to be shared, understood and experienced by all," Mr O'Farrell said in a statement.
"Banning people from attending this unveiling is akin to banning people from attending the Anzac Day march.
"It's ridiculous and shows how out of touch Morris Iemma has become.
"By banning families from what should have been a public event Morris Iemma has proven he's got no idea what the Anzac spirit is all about."
A large bronze statue of a New Zealand soldier was unveiled on the bridge, joining a similar statue of an Australian soldier.
Auckland couple Mike Waterhouse and his wife Glen crossed the Tasman to visit their daughter and grandchildren and were also staggered to be turned away as they arrived to watch the unveiling.
"This was just a bit of a sock in the eye because it's a wonderful idea to put the New Zealand soldier on the other side (of the bridge), it makes you feel good with the Kiwi-Aussie thing," Mr Waterhouse said yesterday.
The ceremony was attended by Mr Iemma, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and invited guests.
The bridge was closed to traffic and pedestrians for several hours, with members of the public told they could not attend ceremony for security and operational reasons.
"The shared experience of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli forged a legend that this statue helps commemorate," Mr O'Farrell said.
"But Morris Iemma's media vanity ensured the unveiling was not shared with the public."
Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 28, 2008 20:34:49 GMT 12
If it was a private ceremony, why were they publicising it so much prior to the event, and not just days but weeks before. And why was the 'invited guests only' aspect not mentioned prior to the event. Some people had actually flown from NZ to attend only to find themselves told to go away, you're not welcome.
Don't blame the reporter, various new agencies are telling the same story. The organisers made a shameful mistake in barring the public. I never realised Australia had the American-style paranoia so bad. Thatk goodness NZ is still a free country.
Is the RNZAF Chaplain Mike Subritzky possibly the same chap from the famous warbird collecting family?
For your record I don't recall seeing any pre publicity except on the day (when for most people here it would have been too late to even think of attending). Otherwise there may have been stories about the statue but not about the event itself. Newspaper reporters report even if they are discouraged from doing so. I don't believe the NSW State Government invited the public and they have said so. If others misinterpret events then I see that as their problem. My view on it. Yes bad luck for people making the trip in error.
Others can put whatever spin/slant on the above reporting of events. Remember politics is politics and it gets played hard in the 'bearpit' of the NSW Parliament. I would not expect the Leader of the Oppos to say anything other than Morris Iemma is a tool. ;D
Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 29, 2008 11:20:55 GMT 12
It was in the media a fair bit here Phil before the event, with mentions of the NZ Goverment officials going over there, also that the statue was sculpted by a kiwi, and also full coverage of the ANZAC Cove beach sand being put beneath the statue a few days before the unveiling. They kept hyping it up about the ceremony which Clark was attending. Some reports did say the bridge would be closed for safety reasons - but not once did I note any media outlet mention it was a private, closed ceremony, where the public were unwelcome and excluded so stay away, and from that I deduce the organisers didn't tell the press.
If you had seen the TV reports showing all those who'd travelled there and turned up only to be turned away it seems pretty obvious that they never saw that little gem of info in the press either. Bad show on the organiser's part, not the media. It was considered a big, important event by the media and they duly covered it.
Well, I watch the TV news here in Sydney but I don't claim to watch all the 5 free channels. Even those who turned up seemed to me to be a small crowd (if one can call a small group of people that). I think perhaps the NZed media made something of the event with them NOT saying that it was NOT open to the public. But apart from my guesswork I can't say because I have not seen the NewZed reports. Equally you have NOT seen our NON reports. Stalemate mate. ;D
Look I'm not glad that New Zealanders made a special trip for nothing. But look at the New Zealand media reporting rather than here I think.
Last Edit: Apr 29, 2008 14:16:44 GMT 12 by FlyNavy
Since when is it the organisers fault when some uninvited 'guests' turn up? If these gatecrashers take the trouble to travel overseas to an event, you would think that they might do a bit of research/planningl beforehand. Media beatup on probably a quiet newsday in NZ. As for Dave's comment on security. Perhaps a bit of 'US style paranoia' in your 'free country' may have prevented the recent aircraft attempted hijack.
Anzac Bridge farce shows how 'security' has cost us our freedom
May 3, 2008
We are still waiting to be told why real people - aka hard-working Australian families - were banned from last Sunday's unveiling of the statue of the Kiwi soldier on the Anzac Bridge.
Morris Iemma was there. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, and her startling teeth were there. Defence personnel from both countries oom-pahed back and forth for the TV cameras. But the public was banned. Ordinary folk who had turned up to see the show, many of them expatriate Kiwis, were ordered off the bridge by the police for "security reasons".
What were those reasons? Was there some clear and present danger, a threat to peace and order, life and limb? Did the ASIO spooks have word that, far away in his snowy mountain fastness in the Hindu Kush, Osama bin Laden had planned another atrocity for the occasion? Or was the State Government, growing more unpopular by the hour, fearful of a latter-day Captain de Groot galloping up with sabre drawn?
None of the above, I suspect. Put it down to arrogance and incompetence. The cops kept the public off the Anzac Bridge simply because it made life easier for them. When you give extraordinary powers to the police and "security forces" to boss people around they tend to use those powers. Not for any good reason. Like dogs licking their testicles, they do it because they can and it feels good.
We saw the same sort of thing happen at last year's APEC summit in Sydney, when the city was "locked down" (and aren't you sick of hearing that phrase?) behind a ring of steel so formidable it could be penetrated only by crack teams of highly trained ABC television comedians. No doubt we will see the same officious push and shove when the Pope is here for the World Youth Day jamboree in July.
Granted, the petty stupidity on the Anzac Bridge was not the end of the world, but the people who were turned away had every right to be angry. It was another example of the way the so-called anti-terrorism laws have chiselled away at our rights and freedoms in the name of security.+++
Mike Carlton certainly has a feel for 'timely' comment. What is he - "Rip Van Winkle"? Who knows what is done in the name of 'security'. Methinks the media love the beatup and divert attention from their own failings. [Which would be pubilicising a NON public event.] Nothing new there except most of us don't have a 'bully pulpit' to do it. Saying what 'might have been' is ridiculous of course but if there was actually a 'security incident' we would have had the same 'smartypants' "CarltonDaft" making asinine comments. PHOOWIE. ;D