On the 100th anniversary of the Anzacs’ landing at Gallipoli, BHP Billiton has honoured the contribution of serving Australians and New Zealanders past and present through its support of a number of commemorative initiatives across Australia including a A$10 million donation to the Anzac Centenary Public Fund (ACPF) through the BHP Billiton Foundation.
In announcing the donation to the ACPF the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, commended the contribution and reflected on BHP Billiton’s historic ties to Australia.
“BHP Billiton’s commitment to the wellbeing of our nation began many years ago and it has long provided support for our servicemen and women,” Senator Ronaldson said.
“This sizeable investment in the Anzac Centenary Public Fund will allow many Australians an opportunity to remember all those who have worn our nation’s uniform and ensure the Anzac spirit lives on.”
BHP Billiton CEO, Andrew Mackenzie said BHP Billiton had played an important role in wartime history, including a long association with the Australian Defence Force and assisting the war effort with steel manufacturing, and wanted to support Australians to recognise and remember the sacrifice of our veterans.
“Since the establishment of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company in 1883, BHP Billiton has actively participated in the development and advancement of Australia, including during war times. We are proud of our heritage and our contribution to the Australian community,” Mr Mackenzie said.
“The Newcastle steelworks commenced operation in June 1915 – an industry that would define BHP and Australia’s economy for many years. Overseas restrictions during the war meant that BHP’s steel sustained Australian industry.
“Most importantly our commemorations today are about recognising the selflessness of our veterans and serving defence personnel in protecting our freedom. Many of our employees and their family members served in WWI, and we continue to support veterans and those who serve in the armed forces today.”
One such Australian Defence Force veteran and BHP Billiton employee is New South Wales Energy Coal Maintenance Supervisor Tor Killman who said it was important to educate the public on the country’s rich history.
“Anzac day has a very special meaning for me personally, having served for eight years with the Army before joining BHP Billiton and knowing members of my family and my wife’s served in Gallipoli,” Mr Killman said. “For me, it is extremely important that we have a place to remember the sacrifice of the diggers, reflect on how lucky we are as a country and to teach our history to the next generation.”
BHP’s historic WWI involvement
The Newcastle steelworks commenced operation in June 1915 – an industry that would define BHP and Australia’s economy for many years. Overseas restrictions during the war meant that BHP’s steel sustained Australian industry.
BHP steel and zinc was also used throughout WWI as an important input for munitions and ship building and in WWII, in building ships and planes.
Sources say that over 3000 men enlisted from Broken Hill and of these 365 men died in action, some of them in a miners’ war tunneling under enemy lines.
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