Watching the sunrise over the Australian War Memorial, in the early hours of the morning on Anzac Day, the students and chaperones experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event as they participated in the historic centenary dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux, France. A truly unforgettable event they will remember for the rest of their lives!
As the sun reached higher points in the sky, the students were guests in a town breakfast hosted by the townsfolk of Le Hamel, a town that was liberated by Australian and Allied troops in 1918 in an offensive led by Sir John Monash.
Photos of the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux have been added to the photo gallery.
12.00 am on 25 April 2018, the eight students and two chaperons left for the Anzac Day Centenary Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux. There were mixed feelings of tiredness and eagerness in anticipation of what was to come in the early hours of the morning. Looking around the bus, I felt incredibly grateful for the people I have been able to share so many amazing experiences with, as I reflected on this trip so far.
As we arrived at the memorial, I realised what an amazing opportunity I had been given. We were at Villers-Bretonneux for the Centenary Service and had the opportunity to lay a wreath. This was a once in a life time opportunity to commemorate Australian service people, especially my grandparents and for this we were all grateful.
As we entered the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in the very early hours of this morning, it finally hit me that we were standing in the battlefields of WWI, 100 years later, commemorating the brave actions of Australians and New Zealand soldiers who fought, and represented our country.
I felt an immense sense of community and pride, when shivering in the crowd of over 8,000 Australians on the other side of the world and far away from home. I felt so honoured to be able to represent Queensland and lay the official wreath on behalf of the Premier. This is an experience that I will never forget.
Today to me was what this entire trip had been leading up to, ANZAC Day on the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux and the end of the Great War. Having the opportunity to represent my state across the world on such a momentous occasion truly meant a lot to me and I will not forget how moved I was on this cold and windy morning.
This morning on the 25th of April, a day engraved in Australian history we travelled in the cold to a place so important to Australians, this of course being the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. We gathered on solemn ground where 100 years ago great actions of courage, sacrifice, mateship and loyalty were showcased.
As the last post floated through the air and echoed through the hills, we remembered the fallen Australian soldiers who gave their today for our tomorrow.
Lest we forget.
Today was the big day. This day was the day the entire trip had been leading up to. Despite the conditions, it was truly an amazing experience and opportunity. One that I will never forget. I will forever look back to this day and tell friends and family of the truly life changing experience. I hope to inspire others to do this trip and hope that this tour continues to educate the next line of Premier's Anzac Prize winners about the courage, sacrifice and mateship they displayed through the hardships and sacrifices they went through. This life changing experience is one I will carry with me forever.
All who walk on the lands and memorials of the fallen,
For ours is the land of the living,
But theirs is the kingdom of the eternal,
Lest we forget.
By all students
This page was last reviewed on 19 Apr 2018