Dec 1, 2020

ANTHONY ALBANESE – SPEECH – INVESTITURE CEREMONY FOR EDWARD ‘TEDDY’ SHEEAN VC – CANBERRA – TUESDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2020

 

INVESTITURE CEREMONY FOR EDWARD ‘TEDDY’ SHEEAN VC

 

GOVERNMENT HOUSE, DECEMBER 1, 2020

 

When World War II was raging, it might have been easy for Teddy Sheean to stay home.

 

Growing up in Tasmania, he could have felt the false security of distance.

 

Instead, he signed up.

 

In the Second World War, there wasn’t the naive sense of adventure that carried so many off to the First.

 

The war had come to Australia and, like five of his own brothers, Teddy went.

 

He went for us.

 

In a time when the light in the world was being driven back by the forces of darkness, Teddy knew this was not a fight he could turn his back on.

 

Teddy had not even experienced his first full year of adulthood when he met his fate in the air attack on HMAS Armidale.

 

Already wounded, and with the sky above him chaotic with death, he made his decision.

 

At the moment his mates were at their most vulnerable, Teddy strapped himself to that gun on a sinking ship.

 

He was not even a gunner, but in that moment Teddy became a shield extended over his mates in the water.

 

An ordinary seaman who rose to the extraordinary circumstances in which he found himself.

 

Think of those who lived because of him. Those who could go on and create new generations because of him.

 

How many lives can be traced back to that moment of self-sacrifice?

 

The awarding of the Victoria Cross to Ordinary Seaman Edward “Teddy” Sheean is a great credit to the persistence of his family and their fellow Tasmanians.

 

This is a day of solemn pride for us all.

 

For the Royal Australian Navy and the entire Australian Defence Force.

 

For all Australians.