Candles lit for Bali victims
A section of the Kings Park crowd at the dawn service. Picture: John Mokrzycki/The West Australian

More than 200 family, friends, supporters and dignitaries turned out at dawn for a memorial service at Kings Park to remember and honour the 16 West Australians who died in the 2002 Bali bombings.

Shortly before 5.30am, a lone bagpiper playing “Sailing” walked towards the Bali memorial overlooking the Swan River to begin proceedings to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the day 202 people, including 88 Australians, were killed and hundreds more were injured.

It was a sombre but moving ceremony which included lighting of candles, songs, a poem and time for reflection.

“Everyone here shares a common bond — a desire to remember, to never forget,” said Kevin Clune, the MC.

For those who lost loved ones, the emotional wounds were as raw as they ever were, he said.

“We can’t understand why some things happen but we do know that love and wonderful memories outlast the pain of grief.”

Mr Clune noted that candles were a reminder that even in the darkest hours there was light and hope. Kevin Paltridge, father of Corey Paltridge who died in the bombings and Damon Brimson, a survivor, then lit 17 tea candles — 16 for the 2002 victims and one for Brendan Fitzgerald who was killed in the 2005 bombing on Bali.

Premier Colin Barnett and Opposition Leader Mark McGowan both spoke without notes.

Mr Barnett described the bombings as a senseless cruel and brutal act that killed resulted in a loss of life and a loss of innocence for their generation.

“It was also in as sense a loss of innocence for a whole generation and for Australia,” he said.

“Suddenly, the reality had hit us that the issues and problems of countries to our north were now part of our life and problems that we would now unfortunately share.”

Mr Barnett said those who lost their lives would never be forgotten by family and friends.

“But I do hope for some of you this tenth year does mark maybe a sense of closure,” he said.

“You will never forget your loved ones but they would want you to live your life to the full in their memory.”

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the grief of the families involved was immense and was something they shouldn’t have had to endure.

“Their loss goes on, their suffering goes on,” he said.

Kelly Garton, sister of Corey Paltridge, read a poem, “When Tomorrow Starts Without Me”, and then wreaths and flowers were laid at the foot of the memorial by Mr Barnett and McGowan.

Mr Paltridge and his wife Pat were the first of family and friends to do the same, many touching the names on the memorial wall as John Lennon’s “Imagine” played.

As if on cue, the sun peeked out between layers of grey clouds and illuminated the memorial bearing the names of those killed.

Above read the inscription: “In the shadow of our sorrow we find a light. With the dawn comes hope. With the setting sun, time to heal.”

Then the crowds moved across the road to a barbecue breakfast organised by the Bali Peace Park committee.

“It was hard to get through, but it went well,” Mr Paltridge said afterwards.

“It’s nice to see so many people here remembering what happened.”

Asked if he could find any closure, he replied: “Hate that word.”

“When you lose a child, particularly the way these guys were taken, there’s no closure. You think about them every day and what might have been, and that’s pretty hard.”

The West Australian

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