House debates

Monday, 2 May 2016

Constituency Statements

Canberra Electorate: Jennings Germans

4:38 pm

Photo of Gai BrodtmannGai Brodtmann (Canberra, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

Last week, after six long years of advocating, I was absolutely delighted to attend the official ceremony to acknowledge the contribution of the Jennings Germans to the Canberra community and their inclusion in the ACT's Honour Walk.

In 1951 the AV Jennings construction company—everyone knows AV Jennings—had a government contract to build 1,850 houses here in Canberra. They had the contract but, unfortunately, no builders. The construction company was forced to look for workers overseas. Five different ships arrived between 1951 and 1952, each well-stocked with carpenters, joiners and bricklayers fleeing war-torn Germany. Fifteen of them spoke English; the rest spoke only German. In the two years that followed their arrival the group, who became affectionately known as the Jennings Germans, built more than the contracted allotment of homes; they also built a reputation for hard work, for technical excellence, and for their enduring bond of friendship, which remains to this day. Some returned to Germany, but most of them stayed here. They fell in love, got married, had children and continued to make a significant contribution to our community. I pressed for this honour for six years. It was a great day to celebrate their achievements. Congratulations, Jennings Germans.