Anzac leader lauded

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on June 15, 2018

HELPING to create the National Anzac Centre and develop an Anzac Day “on steroids” for the commemoration’s centenary are two reasons RSLWA State President and ex-Albany RSL President Peter Aspinall is now a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia.

Mr Aspinall has been recognised for significant service to veterans and their families, especially through commemorative events in Western Australia.

His CV includes being President of the Albany Aero Club, Chair of the Albany Centenary of Anzac Alliance, President of the Albany Central Probus Club, and President of the Albany RSL sub-branch.

Mr Aspinall, 76, said he did not consider the award an individual one, as it resulted from the “efforts from a lot of people”.

Along with Albany’s Geoff Hand and Laurie Fraser, Mr Aspinall was instrumental in developing and negotiating the National Anzac Centre.

The trio’s efforts resulted in the re-enactment of the convoy that left Albany for the Middle East on November 1, 1914.

For many soldiers, Albany was the last Australian soil they stepped upon.

“Geoff recognised that November 1, 1914 was something no one else could lay claim to,” Mr Aspinall said, regarding discussions for Albany’s Anzac centenary celebrations.

Their dream came true on November 1, 2014 when thousands of people flocked to King George Sound to witness the re-enactment.

“When we were trying to work out what we were going to do, we thought: ‘It’s just another Anzac Day, but on steroids’,” Mr Aspinall laughed.

“We got six naval ships for the re-enactment.”

On the same day, the National Anzac Centre was opened and Mr Aspinall agreed it was “an extraordinarily overwhelming experience”.

“When you’re so close to a project, you get very precious about it, but it’s been an amazing success,” he added.

Despite these achievements, Mr Aspinall said the most rewarding part of his work in veterans’ affairs was being able to help other people.

“The most satisfying element is meeting and exceeding expectations of current veteran generations looking for support,” he said.

Mr Aspinall will receive his award in early September at Perth’s Government House.