As ANZAC day celebrations took place around the nation this year, a new memorial was dedicated at Adelaide's Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Edinburgh Base, in order to commemorate RAAF personnel who have served on operations, particularly those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Some leading Australian companies, including Hansen Yuncken, Manuele Engineers, Le Blanc Roofing, and BlueScope Lysaght have shown their support to the RAAF, by providing and installing the memorial infrastructure .
Situated about 25 kilometres north of Adelaide, RAAF Base Edinburgh is located on the site of the Salisbury wartime ammunition factory that operated from 1942 to 1945. The airstrip at Salisbury was completed in 1954 and named in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh, who opened the airfield.
The RAAF first arrived at Edinburgh when Headquarters Edinburgh was formed on 17 January 1955 with an establishment of seven Officers and eight Airmen. The Base today consists of both operational and support units including those of the RAAF's Long-Range Maritime Patrol aircraft, the AP-3C Orion, and has approximately 2,500 military members and civilians.
"We decided to build the memorial to commemorate the outstanding service our people have provided during operations both overseas and in Australia. It will be a place where current and ex-military members and civilians can reflect on the past and give thanks for the hardships endured and sacrifices made for our nation," explains Flight Lieutenant Maria Corbet.
The memorial is a simple yet thought provoking structure, consisting of a concrete base, with four columns supporting a curved roof. It incorporates the shapes of an aircraft hanger, a propeller and a cross.
A hedge of rosemary will surround the memorial shelter. The significance of the rosemary dates back to the days of early Greece, where it was used as a type of incense at funerals, as a symbol of fidelity and remembrance. Today, rosemary is worn on important occasions such as ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day in honour of the fallen in war.
Local commercial roofing company, Le Blanc Roofing installed the curved roof, which consisted of Lysaght Custom Blue Orb. "When the RAAF approached me about contributing to the memorial, we were happy to help," says Managing Director, Scott Le Blanc. "We felt it was important to support the RAAF community."
Manuele Engineers, one of Adelaide's largest structural steel firms, supplied the structural steel for the memorial. "We were more than happy to supply and install the structure," says Managing Director, Vince Manuele. "And that's when BlueScope Lysaght got involved, supplying the material component."
BlueScope Lysaght provided LYSAGHT® purlins and 64 square metres of LYSAGHT CUSTOM BLUE ORB® for the structure.
The new memorial will be dedicated in the near future by a RAAF Chaplain from the base. In a military tradition dating back many years, a "catafalque party" will also be in attendance. A catafalque party is a guard mounted over a catafalque (traditionally a coffin on a bier, or a memorial). The catafalque party will consist of four Airmen, who will be posted facing outwards resting on arms, as a mark of respect for the dead.
Flight Lieutenant Corbet says that the support provided from companies like Hansen Yuncken, Manuele Engineers, Le Blanc Roofing and BlueScope Lysaght is very much appreciated by the RAAF.
"We feel that it's very important to honour and acknowledge the many people who have fought for our country in the past and who are serving the nation now, in Australia and overseas," she says. "And it's good to know that people out there in the local community that care about the Defence Force and what we do."