Koonwarra Memorial Park

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (12:53): If volunteerism had an Olympic category, the late Ian Kinnish would be a gold medallist. For 53 years Ian was the secretary and treasurer of the Koonwarra hall committee. Last Sunday his wife, Mary Ann, and members of his family celebrated the community’s acknowledgement of his dedicated service. He was a reliable and steadfast gentleman whom I knew very well; I was delighted to be in the congregation when we celebrated his considerable time and effort. Also the relatives of former Koonwarra World War II soldiers Robert Barguss and Harry Milsom, who died over 80 years ago, gathered for the official unveiling of their memorial plaques at the memorial park. Faye Marshman shared some of the stories collated by sister Meryl Pyle around Bob’s brutal death in Changi on the Burma Railway—and he kept a diary prior to his death.

Harry was shot in New Guinea in 1942, and his relatives travelled from interstate to share a glimpse of his story. Harrowing though these deaths are, it was wonderful to commemorate their lives and contributions to Australian sovereignty. Tanya Wilson and Brian Hosking displayed their prodigious singing talents, making the ceremony memorable, but gratitude and thanks go to local gentleman Ken Caithness for being the driving force behind this special remembrance. Ken is an absolute legend, and we thank him for his efforts on that day.