A SPECIAL banner representing Queensland’s Rats of Tobruk war heroes is going on permanent display in Nambour’s historical museum.
Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien announced a $2,631 grant to the Nambour and District Historical Museum Association as part of the federal government’s Saluting Their Service Commemorations Program.
The money will fund a frame to preserve and display the banner which has been donated by the former Qld branch of the Rats of Tobruk Association.
Mr O’Brien said the Rats of Tobruk were a defiant garrison who stopped the German Afrika Corps from marching on Egypt in 1941.
“For eight long months they withstood tank attacks, artillery barrages and bombings as they held the Libyan port of Tobruk against the enemy,” said Mr O’Brien.
“The conditions they endured were extreme – searing desert heat, awfully cold nights and living like rats in dugouts, caves and crevices – but they did not give up.
“Some of those men have links to the Sunshine Coast and Nambour and now we will have their banner on display in our local museum so people can remember and appreciate their service.”
Nambour and District Historical Museum Association Inc president Clive Plater said the Rats of Tobruk Qld branch no longer existed because very few members were alive anymore.
“I only know of two Rats of Tobruk from the Association and they felt they wanted the banner, which they used at Anzac Parades and other functions, to go to a place where someone would do the right thing by it and not just put it away in storage,” said Mr Plater.
“I’ve always had an interest in the Rats of Tobruk because my uncle Sergeant Les Plater was one and he was killed when he was 23.
“He lived in Rosemount and was a member of the 2/15th Battalion. A lot of local soldiers were in the 2/15th Battalion.
“The Nambour and District Historical Museum has a considerable display of battalion memorabilia,” he said.
The Saluting Their Service Commemorations Program is an Australian Government initiative to honour the service and sacrifice of Australia’s men and women in wars, conflicts and peace operations and to promote understanding of their roles in helping shape the nation.