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Launch of 'Australia Remembers 5: Cameron Baird VC, MG - Dedicated, Courageous and Born to Lead', Government House [Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley]

Hello, everyone. I would like to acknowledge:

  • Mrs Allison Paterson, Author, and Mr Robert Paterson
  • Mr Matt Anderson PSM, Director, Australian War Memorial
  • Mr Andrew Harrison, Vice-President and Co-founder, Cam’s Cause
  • Mr Denny Neave, Managing Director, Big Sky Publishing
  • Contributors to 'Australia Remembers 5: Cameron Baird – Dedicated, Courageous and Born to Lead'
  • Mr Doug Baird OAM and Mrs Kaye Baird, who unfortunately cannot be in attendance today
  • Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

Good afternoon.

David and I are pleased to welcome you all to Government House for the launch of a book that furthers the legacy of the late Corporal Cameron Baird VC, MG.

Before I speak about the book I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal People, and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

‘Australia Remembers 5: Cameron Baird VC, MG – Dedicated, Courageous and Born to Lead’ honours the life and service to our nation of Corporal Cameron Baird.

Cameron was killed in action in Afghanistan just over nine years ago. He was 32.

‘Australia Remembers: Cameron Baird’ is targeted at children aged 6 to 12 years and introduces them to Australia’s most recent experiences in war, through the life of Cameron. It also captures wonderfully the many qualities that made Cameron the person he was, admired by so many.

As a former teacher, I know that this is a book that children will love! It is beautifully written, easy to read, the material is presented in an engaging way, and there is lots of colour and plenty of pictures!

When I taught Grades 4 and 5 at Emmaus Christian School in Canberra we made a big splash when it came to Anzac Day. The children were tasked to do an Anzac Day project. Their work was entered into Schools’ Awards, we had guest speakers come to the school and we went on excursions. They were reading, writing, listening and drawing about Anzac Day.

I thought it was very important for the children to learn about the men and women who have served our nation and the sacrifices made by them and their families.

Allison Paterson’s book will be a valuable educational resource for children.

‘Australia Remembers: Cameron Baird’ contains many heart-warming and inspirational stories about Cameron, both as a child and soldier.

The chapters ‘Teamwork – Cameron as a Teenager’, ‘Operation SLIPPER – Afghanistan’ and ‘Coming Home’ are particularly moving.

Says one former classmate and friend: ‘Cameron looked out for smaller kids at school who may have been picked on, and cared for those whose confidence was down, giving them a much-needed pat on the back or high-five.’

And, from a former Commanding Officer: ‘Cam Baird is and will always be one of the most inspiring leaders within the 2nd Commando Regiment. His moral, physical and mental standards provided a guiding light for each of us to follow.’

Cameron’s story will, I’m sure, help inspire our children to do their best and follow their dreams.

Reflecting on the book in preparing my speech for today, the following words came to mind: service, leadership, respect, kindness, compassion and friendship.

I mention those words for good reason. They are important qualities in life and make for well-rounded children.

I encourage all parents and guardians to find a way to ensure your children read it.

In closing, I want to congratulate Allison on creating an engaging, informative and uplifting book.

I thank Big Sky Publishing for producing the book, and note that it was created with the approval of the Australian Defence Force and with the research assistance of the History and Heritage Units of the Australian Army.

It is now my great pleasure to launch ‘Australia Remembers 5: Cameron Baird VC, MG – Dedicated, Courageous and Born to Lead.’