Nashos on Parade

March 11, 2011

Who would have thought, back in 1995, that the idea of the Bingara Nashos’ reunion’s founder, Ken Bilsborough, would  still be going strongly as ever today.
Former National Servicemen and Ex-services personell will gather for the 16th annual Bingara Nashos’ reunion this Saturday, March 12.

Many Nashos from all over NSW and many travelling from Queensland and Victoria will gather again in Bingara for their annual reunion. Organisers are expecting numbers to be equal to or even better than those of lasts year.

Many of those who will attend have been coming since the reunion’s inception in 1996. It is considered one of the biggest and best ongoing Nasho reunions in Australia.

For the Nashos, this year also marks the National Service 60th Anniversary since the commencement of National Service. This year at Bingara we will acknowledge this milestone as it is celebrated across Australia. We will be remembering and paying special tribute to all those who served our nation in their National Service commitments between 1951 and 1959 in the Navy, Army and  Air Force and in the Army between 1965 and 1972 either in the Regular Army or the CMF.

The later scheme saw 64,000 twenty year olds conscripted into the Army during the 1960s and 70s of which 17,500 went to Vietnam and Borneo.

As the result of this, 212 died on active service and 1,500 were wounded. For many of those young men National Service was a major upheaval in their lives which had an effect on their family, career and social life.

Over those 21 years between 1951 and 1972 over 290,000 young men were called up for compulsory training in the Navy, Army and Air Force. They served in Borneo, Vietnam, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Australia.

The involvement of National Servicemen in Australia’s development has been significant and now each year on February 14 there is a special day on the Calendar, National Servicemen’s Day.

It is a day when we remember all Australians who completed their National Service Training.

Each year services are conducted across Australia which observe its significance, a day of remembrance for all the National Servicemen killed in action or those who died in service, through illness or accident and in the memory of the many Nashos who have passed away in the years since their service in the defence of Australia.

Canberra ceremony
At a very significant event took place last year on Wednesday September 8, the National Service Memorial Dedication ceremony, held at the Australian War Memorial Canberra.  There were in excess of some 3,000 Nashos who participated in a parade in the honour of their contribution to the defence of Australia. The parade was followed by the memorial dedication service by the Governor-General Quentin Bryce which was witnessed by more that 4000 people, which was more than organizers had anticipated witnessing this overdue event. The memorial is dedicated to “all Australian National Servicemen and in the memory of those who died”.

The memorial is a low fountain situated in a prime position in the east courtyard of the Australian War Memorial Canberra.

The parade and memorial dedication was a part of Australian military history where the Australian Government and the community publicly acknowledged the part played by National Servicemen.

For many of those Nashos in attendance it was quite emotional and in a solemn dedication, the address by our Governor General Ms Quinton Bryce described the National Servicemen as “true patriots” for some it was a chance to do something for their country and work for the common good and in some cases having to fight in a war not of their choosing.

Weekend Program
This years Bingara Reunion will commence on Friday night March 11 at the Returned Services Club with a traditional meet and greet session.

Saturday is the Parade and memorial service. Form up for the parade will be on the corners of Finch and Maitland Street Bingara and the parade will be led by the Inverell Pipe Band. The reunion luncheon will follow at the Returned Services Club.

Sunday is the Nasho Church Parade at the Bingara St Johns Anglican Church which has also continues to grow in its attendance number with the Nashos, wives and partners taking the opportunity to worship together, it has become as important as the Saturday Parade and Memorial Service  the  reunion coordinator Darcy Elbourne said.

“We believe the success of this reunion is the friendliness and warms received by those who attend which is extended by all of the Bingara and surrounding communities who make the Nashos so welcome in this friendly town,” Darcy said.