Assyrian Levies Memorial Gains Support

4/1/2009 1:14:00 AM

A Memorial plaque honouring an Australian soldier who helped Assyrians in World War I will be placed in Fairfield Park if councillors agree to a report supporting its installation.

This follows a heated council meeting on February 24 that was attended by 300 members of the Assyrian community in support of the plaque.

Emotions ran high after the matter became a political one with Labor councillor Anwar Khoshaba and Liberal councillor Zaya Toma facing off despite agreeing the plaque should be installed.

A full meeting of councillors was due to vote on the recommendation last night.

City services executive manager Deborah Sanders' report recommended that the plaque be placed at the south-western end of Honour Avenue in Fairfield Park.

Cr Toma, who put forward the motion for a stand-alone Assyrian memorial plaque, said he was happy with the decision.

"That particular location is even better than the one we suggested [at The Crescent, Fairfield]," he said.

"But I didn't put that option forward because I really didn't think I would get it.''

Assyrian Levies Association president Gaby Kiwarkis said he was disappointed with the events at the meeting but was pleased with the outcome.

"The servicemen have earned this recognition and we live with the freedom they gave us everyday,'' he said.

The Defence Department must also approve the use of Sir Stanley Savige's name on the memorial.

Lieutenant-General Savige was an Australian soldier who assisted Assyrian refugees in Iraq during World War I.

"Someone like that should be remembered and thanked,'' Mr Kiwarkis said.