30 Squadron Consecration Parade, RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.
Good morning. It’s a pleasure for Linda and me to be on the RAAF Base East Sale Parade Ground for this significant and celebratory occasion.
Congratulations to the men and women of 30 Squadron on the consecration of your Standard. It’s an honour earned by you and those who served before you. Well done to all involved in this parade. A great spectacle and befitting a consecration ceremony. You’ve done yourselves, your families, your Squadron and the RAAF and ADF proud.
Many of you will recall that Linda and I visited the base in January of last year when it was activated to provide support to the fires. It was an awful time for the community. The impacts are still being felt and will be for some time. But the work you did was critically important. As your Commander-in-Chief I want to thank you for coming to the aid of your fellow Australians.
In my preparations for this ceremony, I reflected on the motto of Air Force 2021 – ‘Then. Now. Always.’ The motto is aspirational, and befitting the Centenary of the RAAF. For mine, the motto also contains an underlying message of endurance. 30 Squadron has been established and disbanded three times, but it is still here. The Squadron has endured.
From its first operational mission in 1942 when it was part of an Allied force that attacked Japanese barges and supplies on beaches in New Guinea …
To being the lead squadron in a low-level attack on a Japanese convoy off the coast of the island of New Britain in 1943 – the Allies crippling the convoy in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea …
To supporting the Australian landing at Balikpapan in 1945 …
And of course in recent times, establishing an air bridge to Mallacoota which enabled the successful evacuation of isolated civilians, holiday makers and animals affected by the fires.
30 Squadron has endured. Its reputation for outstanding work a given. We acknowledge, we recognise and we honour that contribution today.
A Standard is a symbol of the Sovereign’s trust in a unit. A trust won by all who have served in 30 Squadron. A hard-earned trust, enveloped by unity and loyalty. It reminds us of the sacrifice and service of those who have gone before. Outstanding Australians like Bruce Robertson – the President of the 30 Squadron Beaufighter Association and last living 30 Squadron veteran of the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Bruce turns 101 today, and I’m delighted to say he is here with us. Happy birthday, Bruce!
Bruce, on behalf of all Australians, I thank you for your service. Linda and I wish you well.
In closing, I want to acknowledge the families and loved ones of RAAF members, past and present, of 30 Squadron. Your support, your encouragement and your counsel cannot be understated; it is critical to the ongoing health and welfare of ADF members.
Finally, to the men and women of 30 Squadron – those serving today and those that have served through their distinguished history:
- enjoy this moment with colleagues and family
- celebrate your many achievements
- aspire to uphold the traditions and spirit of these colours.
Congratulations to all.