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Melbourne remembers Monash

07 Sep 2017

Melbourne remembers Monash Image

By Kate Mani

Sir John Monash is being honoured in Southbank, nearly 100 years since he rose to international prominence on the battlefields of the Western Front during World War I.

September 9 will see baritones, sopranos and a chorus of over 200 singers recognise Monash’s life and his impact on the city of Melbourne in song through a concert at Hamer Hall entitled Peace.

The musical narrative known as a cantata traces Monash’s life from his early years in Jerilidee and his Melbourne university studies, to his work across the engineering, legal and business fields and his role as a leader of WWI Australian troops in Gallipoli and France.

Encompassing the themes of love, family and loyalty to country, Peace’s composer David Kram says the concert encourages a greater appreciation of both Monash and Australia’s history.

“Melburnians know little about Monash’s upbringing, about what he did for Australian society post-war. As he was a man of war he was also a man of peace,” he said.

“The message is to get to know your history, your country. It’s a patriotic appeal about seeing your own history.”

Kram also believes that the concert’s venue contributes to the cantata’s impact and will make the performance a memorable experience for those involved.

“Hamer Hall is the premier concert venue in Melbourne and Sir John Monash and Sir Rupert Hamer were both examples of Victorian leaders who were interested in the arts,” he said.

“We have choir members coming from Wodonga, Bendigo and Gippsland, so it’s a great thrill for adults and children to sing on that stage.”

Sir John Monash was also commemorated on 8 August at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance on the 99th anniversary of arguably his most notable World War I battle on the Western Front in France.

It was on that day in 1918 that Allied forces fighting in the Somme Valley secured victory at the Battle of Amiens through Monash’s military strategy and battle plan, pushing the German Army onto the back foot.

The service was organised by the 0808 Committee and supported by the Rotary Club of Melbourne.

It commenced with a flyover by Sopwith Pup World War I fighter planes to recognise the t new role of the Australian Air Corps in the battle.

An official commemoration and ode to Monash was held in the Shrine’s sanctuary, involving his great-grandson Michael Bennett and representatives from the Spirit of Australia Foundation, Monash University and Engineers Australia, among others.

The service was followed by a speech from renowned neurosurgeon and 2012 recipient of the Rotary Club of Melbourne’s Monash Medal, Jeffrey Rosenfeld AM.

Rosenfield drew a link between remembering Monash’s WWI endeavours and recognising the service of more recent Australian defence personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A Cantata for John Monash will be held 6.30 pm on September 9 at Hamer Hall, The Arts Centre. Info and bookings


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