Thanks to James Penson for his thoughts on ANZAC Day and what KPS is doing to mark the event.
ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia’s most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War which broke out in 1914. In 1915 Australia and New Zealand sent soldiers on an allied expedition to Gallipoli. The soldiers landed at Gallipoli on April 25 with the aim of capturing Constantinople (known as Istanbul today). But what they thought would be a quick mission turned into an eight-month long ordeal, during which more than 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed.
This news significantly affected Australians back home, and in 1916, April 25 became the date we paid our respects to those who had sacrificed their lives for their country. From the 1920s, the day picked up momentum and commemoration services were held throughout Australia, New Zealand and even overseas.
These days, on ANZAC Day we don’t just remember those who fell at Gallipoli, but all of those who have fought and assisted in every battle on behalf of our nation. It’s not just for the soldiers, but also the nurses and other aides. The spirit of ANZAC, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity. It is this spirit that will be our personal development focus over the next two weeks.
In 2015, we commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. Schools have a very important role to play in ensuring that students understand the significance of the sacrifices made and what we can do to honour those that have made such a contribution to our country.
On Friday we will be holding a special assembly at 2.30pm in the gym. The ceremony will commence with a welcome and introduction by the Principal, Mr James Penson followed by the guest speaker, The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP – Federal Member for Kooyong and Assistant Treasurer.
During the ceremony all the names that are written in the Kew State School 1075 Honour Book Roll will be read out. There are over 268 names hand written on the parchment pages of this book. This is an incredible large number of names which highlights the contribution of the Kew Primary School Community at that time. When these names are read (and it will take some time) I will ask our students to remember that every one of these names is that of an actual person who attended our school and then saw active service between 1914 and 1918. Can you imagine what it would have been like at our school during those years as fathers, uncles, brothers, friends and even teachers signed up and shipped out to war? Think also of the familes and school communities left behind not knowing if they would return.
At the conclusion of the assembly, students and guests will walk past the WW1 marble memorial that has been refurbished and relocated into the main corridor as part of the Centenary of Anzac 2014-2018 grant awarded to the school.
There will also be a wall of remembrance constructed by students and school families on display in the corridor. If you have a family member who served in the armed forces I encourage you to complete the proforma contained in the newsletter last week and then send it back to school so that it can become a part of the display. A large TV screen will also display the names that appear in the WW1 School Honour Book.
As parents we also have a role to play in helping our children to appreciate the true meaning of ANZAC Day. You might do this at home by discussing the meaning of words like “digger” and ANZAC. If you or a relative are in possession of medals, show them to your children and explain their relevance. Draw maps of the soldiers’ journey from Australia to Gallipoli. Talk about other conflicts Australia has been involved in and look them up on a map.
You might also like to visit our school library to borrow some of the books about ANZAC Day. We have a very wide selection appropriate for all ages from picture story books right through to novels and more detailed non-fiction texts. Whilst you are there have a look at the amazing ANZAC display. Many thanks to Bethanie Clarke and Ruth Woolven for setting this up.
Most importantly, try to attend either a dawn service or a memorial service organised by your local RSL. If you can’t get to one, pay a visit to the Kew War Memorial located at the junction of High Street and Cotham Road This memorial commemorates the theatres of war in which Kew residents served. Like our school honour book, the names of those servicemen and women who served in the Great War and of those who died have been inscribed on three of the memorials faces.
Lest We Forget
Principal – Kew Primary School