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In Parliament

 

Battle of Beersheba commemoration - Members Statement

   Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Battle of Beersheba commemoration

Mr T. SMITH (Kew) (13:35:45) — I rise to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba, and I recognise in the gallery this afternoon the head of the Zionism Federation of Australia, Dr Danny Lamm. The Australian‑led victory at Beersheba on this day 100 years ago led to the formation of the modern state of Israel. Why? Because the Ottoman Turks were eventually driven out of the land of Israel on 30 October 1918, when they surrendered. By taking Beersheba the British expeditionary force took Gaza and then it took Jerusalem, where General Sir Edmund Allenby walked into that great city, dismounted and paid homage to its religious sites. They then drove north to Damascus.

Thirty Australians were killed at the taking of Beersheba on this day 100 years ago. I have been to the commonwealth war grave which shows their great sacrifice and indeed the commonwealth effort from across New Zealand, the United Kingdom, India and other nations that led to the dismantling of the Ottoman empire in 1918. As has been recorded earlier, the 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment was led by Lieutenant Colonel Sir Murray Bourchier, who later became Deputy Premier of Victoria and the Country Party member for Goulburn Valley, and indeed Victoria’s agent‑general to London, where he died in 1937. These are important facts that ought to be put on the record for posterity.