Local ANZAC honoured with Last Post

Dr Brendan Nelson AO, Nationals Member for Riverina Michael McCormack, Coolamon Mayor John Seymour and John Sullivan OAM.

The Australian War Memorial has always honoured the going down of the sun with the Last Post.

However, since May 2013, the War Memorial has taken to honouring a different soldier from the honour roll every evening.

On the 11th of October, Private Maurice Joseph Curran, of Matong, was honoured at a ceremony attended by Nationals Member for Riverina Michael McCormack, Coolamon mayor John Seymour, and John Sullivan OAM.

“Each afternoon they have a Last Post ceremony for a soldier who died. They invite the family along; there was quite a lot of this man’s family there,” Mr Sullivan said.

“I laid a wreath on the behalf the Narrandera sub-branch of the RSL. It was a very impressive ceremony.

“It’s one way we can remember the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in the First World War.”

Mr Sullivan said that the ceremonies are a testament to Dr Brendan Nelson’s Directorship of the War Memorial.

“I was absolutely surprised and astounded at the development of the War Memorial that was done by Brendan Nelson. He’s done an outstanding job. It went very well.

“Brendan told me that the ceremony is so impressive that a couple of countries have now tried to emulate Australia with the Last Post Ceremony,” Mr Sullivan said.

Mr McCormack was invited to attend as a member of Private Curran’s family.

“As I’m a great friend of Michael he invited me to go along. It was just one of those things,” Mr Sullivan said.

While Private Curran was buried by his own brother Jack, who also had the awful duty to write home to their mother and tell her the news, Private Curran’s grave was lost. He is now recorded on the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, as one of the missing soldiers who have no known grave.

Families, if they wish to, can request a ceremony for a fallen relative of any conflict. Occasionally, the ceremonies will honour a soldier
topically; Corporal Leslie Clyde Absolom, who is buried in Passchendaele cemetery, was honoured on the day of the 100th anniversary of Passchendaele.

The Last Post ceremonies are a means for a family to hold a funeral for a person who was never able to get one.

“It was not until the Vietnam war that we brought the bodies home. That’s why the memorials, and the memorial gardens, were so important. That was the grave of these fellows,” Mr Sullivan said.

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