I will be back vowed General Douglas MacArthur in South Australia's Terowie, but to where?

Posted by barbara on February 26, 2013

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It has been difficult enough for a pivotal change of gauge town like Terowie to survive the closure of the rail line south to Adelaide and north to Peterborough.

Maintaining the viability of this picturesque historic 'ghost town' won't be helped by the State Government's stonewalling on cleaning up the town's asbestos problem as detailed on ABC TVs 7.30 Report on 26 February 2013. See http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3698968.htm

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Apart from its pivotal role as an important rail town, second only to Peterborough, Terowie's ongoing claim to fame centres around a speech made by General Douglas MacArthur when he was changing trains on his southward journey.  

History was made in Terowie in 1942 when the eyes and ears of the world were drawn to the fighting words of US General Douglas Macarthur (Supreme Commander, Southwest Pacific Area). It was in Terowie that he made his key World War 11 Battle of the Philippines speech while transferring trains where he was quoted as saying 'I came through and I shall return' on 20 March 1942.

His return to where is the question. While some interpret it to mean Terowie, his more famous quote, 'I came out of Battan and I shall return', was a reference to the escape made by his family and staff in patrol boats to Australia. His great escape by sea followed the Japanese invasion of the Philippines which prompted the US retreat to Bataan near Manilla.

Indeed he lived up to his Terowie promise when he officially accepted in person Japan's surrender on 2 September 1945, after which he oversaw the Allied occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951.

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Terowie demonstrates its civic pride during the festive season.

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