THE Legacy Torch Relay reaches Tasmania tomorrow (October 3), as part of its journey to commemorate Legacy’s Centenary. While in the state it is heading to Ouse in the upper Derwent Valley, which is the birthplace of Legacy founder General Sir John Gellibrand.
The Ouse program this Wednesday (October 4) will see the relay take a short route leaving St John the Baptist Church at noon and travel 2.5km along the Lyell Hwy for the lighting of a cauldron at Gellibrand’s birthplace at Leintwardine, which is now the home of Central Highlands deputy mayor Jim Allwright and his wife Pip.
The Ouse relay will have five torchbearers, namely Wendy Warner, Kevin Warner, Robert Jones, Andrew Reggett and Guy Barnett MHA. As the final torchbearer, Mr Barnett will light a cauldron at the end point at Leintwardine.
The Legacy Centenary Torch Relay 2023 is a six-month campaign to pay homage and acknowledge veterans’ families, saluting their sacrifice. The torch will travel more than 50,000 km, through 100 stops, carried by about 1500 Torch Bearers hoping to raise more than $10 million to continue Legacy’s work.
Legacy was established in 1923 to provide support and services to the families of veterans of the Australian Defence Force who have given their lives or health for their country. It is said that in the trenches of the Western Front during World War I, a soldier said to his dying mate: “I’ll look after the missus and kids”. This became known as The Promise – and it is still kept today.
The Legacy Centenary Relay began in the lead up to Anzac Day in Pozieres, France. It then travelled to London, England, and from there to Western Australia. Next stop was South Australia and then it travelled through the red centre up to Darwin, across to Queensland and down the eastern seaboard. After its three days in Tasmania this week, the relay will return to Victoria for a grand finale at the Shrine of Remembrance on October 13.
More than 60,000 Australian service personnel were killed in World War I, including more than 4000 Tasmanians. A further 150,000 were wounded and many of these died. Realising the dire circumstances of the tens of thousands of veterans, widows and children left behind, those who returned set out to help them. In Hobart, General Sir John Gellibrand formed the Remembrance Club in 1923. General Sir Stanley Savige, was inspired to establish a similar club in Melbourne he named Legacy. It grew to become a national charity, incorporating Gellibrand’s Remembrance Club.
Originally, it was returned servicemen who took the duty of caring for and supporting widows and children. Many of those beneficiaries now volunteer to provide the support that Legacy provides. A century on, Legacy is still caring for tens of thousands of widows who have lost their loved ones or been affected by their partner or parent’s service in the Korean War, Malayan Emergency or Vietnam War, as well as campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and in peacekeeping operations across the globe.
John Gellibrand was born at Leintwardine, Ouse, in the Upper Derwent Valley, on December 5, 1872. When he was just 21 months old his father died and his mother moved to England with her seven children. At 17 John embarked on a military career with the British forces and he saw service in the Boer War in South Africa.
He returned to Tasmania in 1912, hoping to buy a larger share of Cleveland, the large grazing property west of Ouse in which he had a one-tenth share. That did not happen and he instead bought an apple orchard at Risdon. He joined the Australian army at the outbreak of World War I and was in the landing a Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. By the end of the war he had risen to the rank of major-general. He was knighted in 1920.
Spectators are invited to watch the Legacy Torch Relay at Ouse this Wednesday (October 4), assembling near St John the Baptist Church in Bridge Hotel Rd, Ouse, at 11.30am for the noon start.
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