All who walk into this national war memorial are struck by the weight of history.
By the sacrifices of so many.
By the losses endured by so many more.
As we wander the cloisters of the Commemorative Courtyard, we are taken aback by the seemingly endless rows of names recorded on the bronze panels of the Roll of Honour.
No other place in our nation so profoundly embodies the collective deeds of Australians whom, generation upon generation, put country, community, and their loved ones before themselves.
Particularly when we comprehend that behind each name is a person.
Behind each person, a story.
And behind each story, a family.
By learning about the person, the story and the family behind a name, we bridge the gap between the foreign past and the familiar present.
For we quickly recognise that those remarkable individuals who we commemorate today were, like us, ordinary Australians.
What made them remarkable was that they did the extraordinary despite being ordinary, answering the times and circumstances in which they found themselves.
Albert Thistlethwaite was one such remarkable Australian.
He was one of six children from a farming family in Samsonvale, Queensland.
Albert was initially rejected for service due to his slight deafness.
But he soon found himself on the Western Front.
Aged 21, Private Thistlethwaite of the 42nd Australian Infantry Battalion was killed near Ypres on the 13th of October 1917.
His three brothers, who also enlisted, would fortuitously return home from the horrors of the First World War, unlike so many of their fellow countrymen.
Robert Neville Lonergan was another remarkable Australian.
He grew up in the interwar years in Brisbane and worked as a clerk.
In 1941, Robert and his fellow airmen from Australia and Canada proudly posed for a photograph, having recently received their wings.
On the 10th of March 1942, 22-year-old RAAF Flight Sergeant Lonergan was flying with a Canadian crew.
They were among squadrons of Allied bombers charged with destroying armament factories in the German industrial town of Essen.
His plane, like so many in the Second World War, never made it home.
Two world wars.
Two ordinary Australians who did the extraordinary.
Private Albert Thistlethwaite.
And Flight Sergeant Robert Lonergan.
They are commemorated respectively at memorials in Samford and Kallangur in my electorate of Dickson.
I pay my respects to them here this afternoon in our most sacred war memorial.
And I pay my respects also to Private Joseph John Dale of the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion, whose service and sacrifice we commemorate specially during this Last Post ceremony, alongside his family.
At the going down of the sun, we honour all Australians who have served.
All those who gave their lives.
All those who returned home bearing wounds, seen and unseen.
And in the morning, as we commence the work of the 47th Parliament of Australia, let us remember this:
Our fortunate country today is neither the result of luck nor natural occurrence.
It has been forged, fought for, and defended by those before us.
In this, we are the beneficiaries of a great inheritance – one which most people in history could never have imagined, or at best, dreamt about.
We are the custodians of a legacy which past generations helped create and safeguard through their sacrifice.
And we owe it those who came before us, those we represent today, and those who will come after us, never to drift into complacency.
As we confront conflict in Eastern Europe and coercion in the Indo-Pacific, we must come together as a nation.
We must have confidence in our convictions and ourselves.
And we must press forward with energised commitment and action to protect sovereignty and self-determination, law and liberty, peace and prosperity.
The Australian War Memorial is a reminder that it can be done.
That the ordinary can do the extraordinary.
Lest we forget.