Anzac Day 2019 - Community Gathers to Celebrate and Remember

Published: Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 12:46:24 PM

Over 100 people gathered on Anzac Day in Narembeen to pay tribute to service men and women and to remember those who have died during war, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.  Commemoration services took place at the Shire of Narembeen Cenotaph and the Narembeen Town Hall.

A highlight of the commemorative service was Narembeen born and bred guest speaker, Lieutenant Sophie Dixon who is currently in the Australian Defence Force serving as a Nursing Officer.  Sophie delivered a powerfully moving speech during the service.

Sophie thanked the Narembeen community for the opportunity to be a part of the Anzac Day celebrations and said “it was such a privilege to come and share my story, it made me feel so loved and supported by the Narembeen community”. 

Fondly known as “Our Soph” Sophie paid tribute to the many people in the Narembeen community who have influenced her throughout her journey.  She thanked those that have guided and shaped her as a young member of the community, preparing her for the many opportunities which have presented themselves so far.

A talented young lady, with sport being a big part of her life, Sophie has represented Western Australia in both junior and senior women’s volleyball teams.  Sophie attended Narembeen District High School and Penrhos College followed by the University of Notre Dame. 

It was during her time at Notre Dame that Sophie was introduced to the Australian Army Undergraduate Nursing Scheme – a job that she felt you could have for life with adventures and a completely different style of nursing.

For Sophie, the inspiration for joining the military came from growing up with her Aunty Marlene and Uncle Ray (previously a member of the SAS) who came annually to the farm for the Vietnam Vets weekend. Sophie said “as a young girl I saw a large a group of grey-haired people, still together after all that time, reminiscing over old “waries”, commemorating old friends, having a wonderful time with unconditional friendship and camaraderie, I wanted a piece of that.”

So as a 17 year old, with parent signatory permission of course (maybe not Mum’s, but Dad was more than happy to sign), Sophie applied. And on 12th February 2013, she was appointed as a Lieutenant in the Australian Army Nursing Undergraduate Entry Program. 

Sophie’s believes her military journey has given her the most rewarding and challenging moments of her life and she has had the privilege to represent Australia overseas on two occasions. 

In 2017, Sophie worked in partnership with local nurses in Timor Leste to provide healthcare to civilians whilst supporting engineering comrades on EX Hari Humatuk. A small country, only an hours fight from Darwin – faced with malnutrition, scabies and a multitude of other health problems that we hardly need to think about in Australia. 

In 2018, Sophie was deployed to Iraq on OP OKRA. Australia’s contribution to assisting in the defeat of ISIS through training and building the capacity of the regular Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Australia is still there working in a joint task force with our New Zealand brothers and sisters as non-combatants. Sophie was deployed in a nursing role to provide health support and medical training to our coalition partners.

“Whilst I will never get used to people calling me Ma’am, I am so proud to be an officer in the Australian Army, I have joined a long history of people who I admire, thank and look up to, today is about all those members, past, present and future. I am so thankful to our ANZACs” said Sophie.

Thank you to the many locals who assisted with the commemoration services in Narembeen, particularly to ex-serviceman Mr Alan Wright. Special thanks to Bhimrao Thavare who on behalf of the Church of Christ has conducted the Town Hall services for many years, we wish Bhimrao and his wife Kanta all the best for their relocation to Perth, they have called Narembeen their home and have been a big part of the Narembeen community.

Following the Town Hall service, the community enjoyed a delicious luncheon provided by the P&C and were able to view artwork which brightened the Chambers and was kindly provided by the talented students of Narembeen District High School - many thanks to the teachers, students and P&C volunteers.

Shire President, Cr Rhonda Cole said “thank you to all those who helped make this special event possible and to those community members who came along to pay their respects.  It was wonderful to see many locals and visitors taking advantage of viewing the Spotters Hut Museum, a great project undertaken by the Narembeen Historical Society”.




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