City pays ultimate tribute to Aus­tralian le­gends

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - De­fence writer Emily Mac­don­ald emily. mac­don­ald@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

THOU­SANDS of for­mer na­tional ser­vice­men – known af­fec­tion­ately as Nashos – will soon con­verge on Townsville for their 60th an­niver­sary. Around 4000 na­tional ser­vice­men, rel­a­tives and well-wish­ers are ex­pected to travel to Townsville from across Aus­tralia and New Zealand in Septem­ber for the four-day event be­ing held in hon­our of those who took part in the scheme.

Mayor Les Tyrell will make an of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment about the event to­day with coun­cil con­tribut­ing sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing and lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port to help the Na­tional Ser­vice­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion Townsville branch or­ches­trate the event.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion providers and tourism op­er­a­tors are ex­pected to ben­e­fit im­mensely from the event, which has been the talk of vet­eran cir­cles for months.

Two sep­a­rate Na­tional Ser­vice schemes were run in Aus­tralia and 287,000 men were called upon for com­pul­sory ser­vice – 212 of which were killed and 2000 in­jured.

The first Nashos marched into the Townsville RAAF Base in July 1951 and the sec­ond scheme ended in 1972 with some of the men sent to serve their coun­try in Bor- neo and Viet­nam.

Townsville has a long and proud tra­di­tion of host­ing spec­tac­u­lar na­tional events in­clud­ing the VP50 and VP60 cel­e­bra­tions.

Both events drew 75,000 peo­ple to The Strand.

Com­mem­o­ra­tive ac­tiv­i­ties will run be­tween Septem­ber 8 and 11 and it is un­der­stood they will in­clude a pa­rade at The Strand, gala ball, pub­lic con­cert and var­i­ous other func­tions in­clud­ing a meet and greet.

N a s h o s T o w n s v i l l e branch pres­i­dent War­ren He­garty said the club’s 3 0 0 - s t r ong mem­ber­ship was thrilled to have beaten the Gold Coast in a bid to host the his­toric 60th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion.

The group is even ex­pect­ing a con­tin­gent of up to 100 guests from New Zealand who par­tic­i­pated in a sep­a­rate form of Na­tional Ser­vice, the Com­pul­sory Mil­i­tary Train­ing scheme, but nev­er­the­less wanted to sup­port the Nashos due to their strong bonds of mate­ship.

‘‘ There have been three big re­unions. The 50th was in the Gold Coast and 55th in Gos­ford now the 60th will be in Townsville and it will be the best of all of them,’’ Mr He­garty said.

‘‘ There’s def­i­nitely been a lot of ex­cite­ment. We’ve heard from peo­ple from all over Aus­tralia and even New Zealand who want to come along for the big event.

‘‘ Last year when they o p e n e d t h e N a t i o n a l Ser­vice­men me­mo­rial for us in Can­berra, there were 4000 peo­ple there and we took down fly­ers let­ting them know we’re hav­ing the cel­e­bra­tion in Townsville so the ex­cite­ment has been build­ing since then.

‘‘ Nashos are . . . part of Aus­tralia’s his­tory and we need to re­mem­ber them.’’

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