Casey Commemorates

Book layout and cover design for the Mt Evelyn RSL.

The Federal Electoral Division of Casey sits some 50 kilometres north-east of Melbourne in the State of Victoria. It is nearly 2,500 square kilometres and its boundaries run from the suburb of Kilsyth through to the township of Matlock, taking in most of the Shire Yarra Ranges, the Yarra Valley, the Dandenongs and the Upper Yarra. It is named in honour of Lord Richard Gavin Gardiner Casey KG, GCMG, CH, DSO, MC, PC, a veteran of the First World War, so it was appropriate then that when our nation came to honouring the centenary of that conflict, the electorate named after him was one of the most pro-active.

During this centenary period, the residents of Casey paid tribute in a number of ways to those who served, suffered and died in World War One. Through books and websites and on memorials they recorded what they did, in the military and on the homefront, and they organised events that helped educate the community to the heroism and tragedy of the times.

The very first event in Australia to mark the centenary was held here in February 2014, to recognise the 100-year anniversary of the militia camp that occupied the site of the present day Lillydale Lake and that was under the command of Colonel John Monash. From August 2014 through to 2019, most of the notable First World War anniversaries were commemorated by using the stories of local personalities and local events to highlight what had happened and to enlighten the community. Most notable were the sixty or so commemorative services organised by the Mt Evelyn and Lilydale RSLs that paid tribute to the local fatal casualties listed on six war memorials in the area, on the anniversary of the day they died on active service.

Recorded here in this volume are all the historical speeches read out at events held in the electorate of Casey to mark the Centenary of World War One, including the biographies of local service people honoured, the events commemorated, the books and websites launched, as well as the memorials that were unveiled. It is a unique glimpse into the efforts of the people in one part in Australia in recognising and paying tribute to an important period in our nation’s history.

With a Foreword by The Hon Dr Brendan Nelson AO