On this day, the centenary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landing at Gallipoli, students, teachers and schools will remember their service, connect with the community and look with hopeto the future.
In 1916, Australia remembered the first anniversary of the landing by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli. Soon after, 25 April was officially named ‘ANZAC Day’, and ceremonies were held on the day throughout the country. In the 1940s, vaterans of the Second World War joined the ANZACs in the parades.
In recent years, renewed engagement in ANZAC Day, particularly from young people, has seen a marked increase in the number of people attending commemorative services. On the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, interest in the spirit of ANZAC is as strong as ever; a quick survey of our Member Schools tells us that in 2015, more than 90,000 students and 11,000 staff from 147 Victorian Independent schools are expected to take part in a wide variety of ANZAC Day events.
Wreaths will be laid and Gallipoli Oaks will be planted, along with a sapling cut from the Lone Pine in Gallipoli. Some students have been baking ANZAC biscuits for charity; others are taking part in the 1000 Steps challenge at Mt Dandenong.
As well as holding assemblies and memorials of their own, many schools will be participating in dawn services in their local community. A large number of students will attend the ANZAC Day Parade from Flinders Street to the 84th Commemoration Service at the Shrine of Remembrance. Some will take part in the march themselves, carrying banners to represent the various regiments, or playing in pipes and drums bands.
The Turkish community will also be represented by students. An Ilim College project has sought to create a ‘Walk of Harmony’ to honour those who gave so much on both sides of the Gallipoli – Peninsula. Students from Ilim College, Mount Ridley Secondary College and Penola Catholic College are currently on a pilgrimage to Gallipoli as part of this project.
Schools have been exploring the history of the ANZACs in their classrooms as well, discussing themes of sacrifice and peace. Sadly, many of the schools have past students who fought and died in the wars of the past century, and this week they are being remembered.