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Your views: on Liberals, Gatehouse, ASO and 'Breaker' Morant

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on Liberal Party politics, modernising heritage, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and a Boer War memorial.

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Commenting on the story: Libs’ Right showdown as president faces challenge

Good to see Glenn Bain’s “diversity and equal opportunity” relates to a young white bloke contesting a white old bloke; not quite the definition of diversity and equal opportunity. – Jamie Newlyn

A pattern is emerging; the right faction pushes for control in the years where there is a preselection/election and then goes to sleep and lets the moderates do the donkey work of campaign fundraising at all other times.

Watch the policies of the Libs swing to the right. It’s a real shame as the liberal Lberals have been doing a good job, overall, and kept the factional peace. – Patricia Chigwidden

Commenting on: Your views, Friday August 20 and Modern new look for historic Urrbrae gatehouse

Your correspondents that are critical of the plans for the gatehouse are not familiar with the requirements for extensions to heritage listed buildings.

I don’t know if it is a state requirement but certain councils require additions to heritage listed buildings to be obviously different to the original. – Rodney Davies

Commenting on the Music Review: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in Concert

I was at the Star Wars: Return of the Jedi concert on Saturday last. At the end, I remarked to my companion that the brilliant ASO musicians had played the whole score through with only a 20-minute break, and that I didn’t think the London Philharmonic Orchestra had done that when laying down the movie’s soundtrack.

Then, in the parking lot, we met up with one of the violinists and made the same comment. “No,” he said. “They didn’t have to play the whole thing through. They had two weeks in which to do it and, what’s more, there were two separate orchestras doing the work.” Naturally, we complimented him and the whole ASO.

What a fabulous night it was, and what a labour of love from the performers. – Nicola Stratford    

Commenting on the opinion piece: Why ‘Breaker’ Morant’s name should never be included on Adelaide’s memorial

While Tony Stimson is entitled to express a view about the application by Cathie Morant, descendant of Harry “Breaker” Morant, to have his name recorded on the Boer War memorial, Adelaide, his view that Morant is not deserving of such recognition because of the offences he committed when he served with a British Contingent, the Bushveldt Carbineers with respect is misplaced and lacks an understanding of the purpose of war memorials.

I act for the descendants of Harry Breaker Morant, Peter Handcock and George. I am a military/civilian lawyer. The aim is to achieve an independent inquiry into the manner in which these men were tried and sentenced during the Boer war 1902. My exacting research has revealed compelling evidence they were not tried according to law and suffered a terrible injustice. Morant and Hancock were executed in 1902 and Witton was sentenced to life imprisonment.

I am concerned that Lt Morant, who joined the war from Adelaide, has been excluded from the memorial and should have been included when the memorial was built in 1904. Why he was not included? We don’t know and I dispute Tony Stimson’s view that Morant was deliberately omitted as speculative and without evidence. The records of the time are silent on this.

Morant, Handcock and Witton are recognised on the virtual National Boer War Memorial in Canberra when it was created, so Morant should also be included on the memorial in Adelaide, the city in which he enlisted for service. His inclusion would be consistent with the memorial in Canberra and other memorials in other parts of South Australia, including Renmark that recognises those South Australian men who served.

War memorials are a significant aspect of Australia’s heritage and history. They commemorate the service and sacrifice of service men and women during wartime. While service is not always positive, the ethical and established principle remains, those who served deserve to be recognised, not ignored.

If Tony Stimson’s plea that Morant should not be recognised on the Adelaide memorial because of his subsequent service with the BVC, as opposed to his service with the colonial unit, 2nd South Australian Mounted Rifles, then Australian authorities, including the AWM and State and Territories have a challenging decision to make.

If Morant remains off the memorial then authorities should ensure those men and women, volunteers or permanent, who rendered service and breached military or civil law during their service be removed from memorials. My research has revealed there are many Australians who should be removed from memorials because of military indiscretions.

The view of the Bathurst RSL Sub Branch where Lt Handcock’s name appears on the memorial is significant. The RSL President, David Mills stated in response of 6 August 2021, to a push to remove Lt Handcock from the memorial:

‘War memorials are an important part of Australia’s national heritage. They honour those who have paid the supreme sacrifice, commemorate the service and sacrifice of all servicer men and women as well as honouring the contribution of others during times of war. Service is not always of a positive nature however we need to note all service and learn from our history, note ignore or delete or worse rewrite it’. The Bathurst RSL Sub Branch does not support the removal of names from the Boer war memorial or any memorial in the Bathurst Regional Council area.’

The Renmark RSL Sub Branch also supports the inclusion of Lt. Morant on the Boer War Memorial in Adelaide. The president, Peter Higgs statedin a letter of 8 August 2021:

‘Although LT Morant’s service was terminated due to his actions, it does not remove the fact that he volunteered and served as a soldier of the British Empire (initially with the South Australian Volunteer Contingent’). The Renmark RSL Sub Branch supports the inclusion of Lt H. H. Morant to the Boer War Memorial in Adelaide’.

Tony Stimson’s statement that Morant was guilty of war crime is not disputed. However, his crime was not committed while he rendered loyal and exemplary service with the South Australian Volunteer Contingent in the rank of Lance Corporal, promoted to Sergeant. His service to South Australia deserves to be recognised.

Cathie Morant wants Breaker’s service acknowledged and this is supported in an online poll of the Adelaide Advertiser, 19 August 2021. Seventy percent responded in the affirmative to the question, ‘Should Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant’s name be added to Adelaide’s Boer War Memorial on North Terrace’? The public’s opinion is compelling. – James Unkles

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