Today’s 70th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific Day (VP Day) was marked in Tasmania with a Commemorative Service and Wreath Laying Ceremony at Hobart’s Cenotaph.
It was my honour to represent the Premier at this event and to host the VP Day Reception at the Glenorchy RSL to acknowledge Tasmania’s World War Two veterans and to remember the day the end of World War Two was celebrated across Australia.
VP Day was first commemorated on 15 August 1945, the day after Japan formally accepted the demand from the Allied Forces for unconditional surrender.
This came a little over a week after the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Second World War impacted Australia directly, through the service of nearly one million soldiers who fought in Europe, North Africa and the Pacific, the bombing of Darwin in 1942 and fighting against the Japanese Army in the Pacific.
World War Two was of particular significance for Tasmania. From a population of just 250,000 we provided more than 30,000 men and women who served this country.
Of these, 1100 died or were killed in action. Nearly 300 Tasmanians received decorations for gallantry during the conflict.
It is also estimated that nearly 16,000 people, including 5000 women, worked in factories and on the land to support the war effort and supply the armed forces with vegetables, dairy and meat products.
It is for this reason that the original VP Day was a huge event for this State and why the 70th anniversary has added relevance and why the Hodgman Liberal Government remains a strong and committed supporter of our veterans and their families and also our current serving men and women.
The 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2 and Victory in the Pacific is a time to reflect on Tasmania and Australia’s contribution and give thanks to all those who served and their families. Lest we forget.
Guy Barnett, Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier