SALVATION ARMY

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:55): On Saturday 6 October, I was delighted to attend the opening and dedication of the new Salvation Army Gawler corps building, to be known as Riverside Gawler. The ceremony was presided over by commissioners Floyd and Tracey Tidd, the national leaders of the Salvation Army in Australia. Also in attendance was Mayor Karen Redmond and the member for Light in another place, the Hon. Mr Piccolo.

 

I would also like to acknowledge, obviously, Major Darren Cox, who is the officer in charge in Gawler, and Mark Foyle, who has been the officer leading public relations in South Australia for the Salvation Army for some time and someone I have worked with over a very long period of time.

My involvement with the Salvation Army in Gawler has been a very long one. Having first collected for the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal in Adelaide outside Parliament House in 1998, I asked whether I could do it in my then home town of Gawler the following year. I was told that there was no presence in Gawler. I was aware that the Salvation Army had closed a number of years earlier, so I was under the banner of the Elizabeth Red Shield Appeal. I was told I could go anywhere I liked in Gawler, and I did that.

The then officer in charge at Elizabeth, Captain David Bartlett, asked me whether I could find a chair for the Salvation Army for the appeal in Gawler. I mistakenly, I suppose, said that if I could not find someone, I would do it myself. Well, I have been doing it for 18 years, I think it is, now. I think in the first year I did it we had about 26 people who collected in doorknocking and some other static places around supermarkets, etc., and those 26 people collected just over $2,600.

The then officer in charge of South Australia was Lieutenant Colonel Vic Poke. He had a vision that there was great potential in the Gawler area to reopen the Salvation Army as a result of what he saw was achieved in that first year. Lieutenant Colonel Poke, who went on to be a commissioner in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and also in Sweden, unfortunately passed away in the last few years.

He showed great vision. He, I think, saw that the Salvation Army could be replanted in Gawler, and he arranged for officers Sam and Ev Hancock to be placed in Gawler. They worked with me very closely, not only in the development of the Red Shield Appeal but also in re-establishing the Gawler corps. I was delighted to work with Sam and Ev as well as, following them, Mailee Ballam, who was a fantastic local officer. All three people involved themselves very much in the Gawler community as well as the Salvation Army.

In that time, and I think in the early days of my chairmanship of that appeal, my office played quite a role in the organisation of getting people out to doorknock and to do other collections. Thankfully, there are now many other people in the Gawler area who support the Gawler corps and get involved in the Red Shield Appeal. I still remain very proud to continue as the chairman of that appeal. As we know, the Salvation Army does wonderful things. They go and do things that probably many other groups find difficult to do. We are very grateful for the work they do.

In closing, I should also add—and I said this on the day—that the Salvation Army has been working in suicide prevention for over 100 years. It typifies the things that they will do that many others wish not to do. Finally, can I pay tribute to Ms Joy Cameron, a faithful member of the Gawler corps for as long as I have known, someone who was privileged, along with a younger member of the corps, to cut the ribbon of the new building on the day.