Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:32): Today, I rise to give thanks to a true great South Australia, Jack Tredrea. Mr Jon (Jack) Tredrea passed away on 17 July 2018. To pay tribute to Jack, I would like to reflect on his life as a soldier and returned serviceman. Jack was born on 15 May 1920, with his home town being Kent Town, South Australia. His service was during World War II when he was enlisted on 23 September 1942.
Jack was assigned to a whole lot of roles, but he was keen to do something exciting, so he enlisted in a role that he knew they would not knock him back on. Jack was a member of the Z Special Unit or Z Force, which was a joint allied special forces unit formed during the Second World War to operate behind Japanese lines in South-East Asia. Predominantly Australian, the unit was a specialist reconnaissance and sabotage unit comprising British, Dutch, New Zealand, Timorese and Indonesian members, mostly operating in Borneo and the island of the former Netherlands East Indies.
At just 24 years of age, Jack parachuted into Borneo in March 1945. At this time, he was armed with only a few maps, some guns and grenades and a cyanide pill in the event that he was captured. As part of the operation, Jack recruited a guerrilla force of about 30 Dayaks, travelling with them for more than six months through dense jungle terrain from the highlands to the east, as they cleared out the Japanese. When discussing Z Special Unit, Jack was quoted as saying:
Z was a different operation to anything else. You were never told what you were going to do. You weren't allowed to talk about what you were training for. We didn't know ourselves where we were going until the day we got on the plane. That was in case any of us were caught. You could have been tortured and divulged information but we didn't have it.
With the 30-year secrecy embargo, Jack was unable to march under the unit's banner until 1975. Jack could not even tell the Governor what he did when he was awarded the Military Medal in 1945 for Fearless and Gifted Leader, Central Borneo.
Upon returning from the war, Jack worked alongside his old boss, where he worked as a tailor, and ended up owning the business for 25 years before retiring at 65. Jack also gave great community service, particularly to the Broadview Football Club: Jack joined the club in 1947 and stayed there over 20 years. Jack played just over 100 games, including the 1948 and 1954 premierships. Jack served as club secretary, treasurer and president during his time at the club. Today, the club is still paying tribute to Jack with a bar at the club named in his honour.
Jack performed a great service for our country, and it is humbling to know that this was recognised when he received the Military Medal, and he continues to be honoured through the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, with the display of the silk map he carried with him, along with his notebook, which includes instructions for medical treatments, standard Malay phrases and a photograph of him wearing a Japanese officer's breaches and boots in Borneo in May 1945.
Soldiers like Jack are to be considered in the highest regard, and as a member of parliament and a brother of a returned serviceman I am truly thankful for the sacrifice they have made for our great country. I met Jack only several years ago at the Murray Bridge RSL, and, in his early 90s, as he was then, when I talked to him about the war and his exploits the words he was saying to me sounded like he was ready to parachute back into Borneo and do the job, he was such a man. He had never forgotten his service, and long may it be remembered. Vale, Jack Tredrea.