Seymour Telegraph

Lord Kitchener Plaque

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Late in 1909 Lord Kitchener arrived in Australia at the invitation of the Australian Government. He was to visit military camps throughout the country and to formulate plans for Australia’s defence. In January 1910, Seymour was the centre for the eight-day military camp in Victoria, during which time Lord Kitchener along with Major General Hoad, Colonel Stanley, Colonel Wallach and the Minister for Defence inspected the force and its manoeuvres. It was an important time in both Seymour’s and the nation’s history. Seymour was considered to be a prime area for a training camp with its mountainou­s terrain and the security of water from the Goulburn River, and the community had to work together to give support, and provide supplies, to a contingent of some 4,000 men and 2000 horses. It also included the moving of stock and temporaril­y turning over agricultur­al, and other, land in the district to the military for their use. And the influx of money into the local economy cannot be understate­d, either.

Kitchener’s report to the Government was presented in July 1910 and concluded that Australia’s forces were “inadequate in numbers, training, organizati­on, and munitions of war, to defend Australia” and that we needed a “National Force maintained at a high standard of efficiency (that) can only be produced by the work of years, and that such work must be steady and continuous”.

As a result, and in a nutshell, an organised military force was set up nationally, which included compulsory military training camps. A camp was then formed on the outskirts of

Seymour and, over the years, was the training ground for thousands of men, preparing them for military service overseas and to defend Australia when needed. Puckapunya­l Army Base was opened in 1939, although many military units continued to be based in and around Seymour for decades. We have retained a close connection with the military to this day.

The Seymour Historical Society presented the Kitchener Plaque to our community 100 years after Kitchener’s visit in order to remind us of the early developmen­t of the military in Seymour. We are a terrific community and we should be proud of our military foundation­s and history.

The Kitchener plaque should remain exactly where it is, as it is written. A sign detailing Kitchener’s apparent war atrocities is not relevant to Seymour’s military history. Carolynne Burgess Blackwell,

Seymour.

 ?? ?? Kitchener Memorial Seymour
Kitchener Memorial Seymour

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