Every April 25 communities across Australia, New Zealand and the world gather to remember the Anzac spirit of service. We remember – the beaches of Gallipoli to the forests of Timor Leste to the deserts of Afghanistan – where we have served, sacrificed and died. We remember the Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori peoples who fought and died with distinction for our countries, even when faced with discrimination or prejudice. We remember the women and men who have served and serve in the Australian and New Zealand Defence Force – and we thank them for their service. We pray for peace in the world, for the people of Ukraine, for all those suffering and afraid.
The Anzac spirit of service is significant for the Whitefriars community. On Anzac Day, the College’s Choir and Band gathered in the early morning fog at Templestowe Memorial Park to provide music for the special community service organised by Templestowe RSL. On the first day of Term Two, the College week started with a moving Anzac service for the community where words like “mateship, endurance, courage and sacrifice” abounded. The College’s Ministry and Social Justice Captain Benjamin Smith (Y12) spoke at the Kew Tramways Dawn Service:
“On the 25th of April 1915, the ANZACs landed at a difficult and desolate position on the Gallipoli Peninsula. For nine months, along with British and French forces, they battled the Ottoman Empire – modern Turkey.
The ANZAC troops made little headway over the challenging terrain. The casualties were heavy.
Ultimately, The British Government ordered an evacuation. On the 9th of January 1916, the Turks carried out their last offensive on Gallipoli, revealing that the entire ANZAC force had withdrawn.
The ANZACs lost 8,000 men at Gallipoli and a further 18,000 were wounded. They went on to serve with distinction in Palestine and on the Western Front in WW1.
The first ANZACs made a name for themselves by fighting hard, against the odds, in an inhospitable environment.
Kamâl Atatürk was a Turkish field marshal at Gallipoli. He became the first president of the Republic of Turkey – from 1923 until his death in 1938. He is regarded as one of the most progressive and important political leaders of the 20th Century.
Ataturk’s words of compassion and healing are inscribed on the memorial at ANZAC Cove.
‘Those heroes that shed their blood
and lost their lives;
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
who sent their sons from far away countries,
wipe away your tears;
your sons are now lying in our bosom
and are in peace.
After having lost their lives on this land they have
become our sons as well.’”
Lest we forget.
Mr Joshua Vujcich
Deputy Principal – Faith & Mission