Trib­ute to Gold­fields sol­dier

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Joanna De­la­lande

Ahead of Re­mem­brance Day to­mor­row, Mem­ber for Kal­go­or­lie Kyran O’Don­nell stood in Par­lia­ment on Thurs­day to pay trib­ute to a Gold­fields sol­dier who served the re­gion in con­flict.

Mr O’Don­nell made spe­cific ref­er­ence to Pte James “Jim” Bren­nan, of Laver­ton, who founded the Eastern Gold­fields Abo­rig­i­nal Ad­vance­ment Coun­cil in 1965.

Pte Bren­nan, who was born in Oc­to­ber 1917, worked as a stock­man at Tar­moola Sta­tion in the north­ern Gold­fields be­fore he en­listed, and was one of the 5000 Abo­rig­i­nal sol­diers who served in World Wars I and II.

Mr O’Don­nell told of how Pte Bren­nan’s bat­tal­ion suf­fered heavy ca­su­al­ties and he was one of hun­dreds of Aus­tralian sol­diers cap­tured and sent to a pris­oner-of-war camp in north­ern Italy.

“He es­caped the prison camp in Septem­ber 1943 and joined the Ital­ian re­sis­tance to fight nazi forces and Ital­ian fas­cist mili­tias,” Mr O’Don­nell said.

“(He was) re­cap­tured in 1944 and trans­ferred to a Ger­man POW camp to serve out the rest of the war. Jim was repa­tri­ated.

“He ar­rived in Aus­tralia in early July 1945 and was dis­charged be­fore Christ­mas 1945.

“He moved to Men­zies af­ter the war where he, his wife, Myr­tle, and their fam­ily played a prom­i­nent part in the town’s his­tory.”

Pte Bren­nan was awarded the Medal of the Or­der of Aus­tralia in recog­ni­tion of his ser­vice to Abo­rig­i­nal wel­fare, and died in 2000.

The hard­ships of more than 80 WA Abo­rig­i­nal men who en­listed and served in World War I were il­lus­trated in No Less Wor­thy, a pub­li­ca­tion re­leased yes­ter­day.

Jim Bren­nan as a pri­vate in the Aus­tralian Army.

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