MR MORRIS (Mornington) (13:30): I rise this afternoon to note the passing, at the age of 100, of Alan Moore.
Alan, or Kangaroo as he was known to many, was a long-term resident of Mount Eliza and more recently of Mornington. Far more importantly, he was the last surviving officer of the 39th battalion, the Victorian militia unit, average age 18, charged with defending New Guinea in 1942.
The 39th, youth and inexperience notwithstanding, stalled the Japanese advance at Isurava, allowing reinforcements to make their way up the Kokoda Track.
In 2008 I had the privilege of walking the track, and upon return I was asked to talk about that trek to a number of community organisations. Part of my speech related to the experience, but having been impressed by the exploits of the 39th I also spoke about the campaign.
Just before I was about to get up to speak at one event, one of the organisers said to me, ‘Oh, we thought we’d better let you know that one of the people in the audience actually fought on the track’. Of course that was Alan.
I thought I had better lay the groundwork for any inaccuracies on my part, so I introduced myself to him. He was generous and said, ‘If you get anything wrong, I’ll tell you afterwards’. Afterwards he was kind enough to say that I got it mostly right and what I did not get right probably did not matter anyway.
Alan’s long retirement was devoted to serving others—in Rotary, supporting Corowa Court aged care and the veteran community, and raising funds for medical and education supplies for villages along the Kokoda Track. In 2019 Alan was very appropriately named Senior Achiever of the Year.
Vale, Alan Moore.