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Last year's tour

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In April 2019, winners of the Premier’s Anzac Prize visited significant memorial sites in London and the Western Front battlefields in France and Belgium. See the journey of the tour through images, videos and diary entries written by the students.

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Recipients of the 2019 Premier's Anzac Prize:

Annabel Jellett Queensland Academy for Health Science
Atticus Solomon Ambrose Treacy College (Indooroopilly)
Chontelle Harris Pimlico State High School
Claudia Maher Brigidine College (Indooroopilly)
Claudia McPherson Matthew Flinders Anglican College
Douglas Gemmell Good Shepherd Lutheran College
Ella Magner Pimlico State High School
Madeline Francis Tamborine Mountain State High School

Chaperones:

Darlene Hill Kepnock State High School
Peter Townsend Mundubbera State School

Accompanied by 2 chaperones, an Australian historian and their mascot Trooper Jones, the 8 students visited key sites important to our Australian war history, including attending the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France. New to this year’s tour was a visit to the amazing Naours Caves and Cobbers Night, a wonderful celebration between the French and Australians. Prior to the tour the students and their chaperones researched the lives of 3 service people from WWI and an earlier conflict. These service people were honoured on tour through a personalised commemorative service at their gravesite or memorial site. A number of participants also commemorated an ancestor making the service even more significant.

Friday 12 April 2019: Brisbane farewell function

A day in the life of a soldier by Annabelle Jellett and Maddy Francis

It was an emotional day for all of us as we put ourselves in the shoes of an Australian soldier on the Western Front. The trenches we walked were clean, well kept and amongst green fields, a far cry from the damp vermin infested holes Anzac's called home. Yet laying in the beds and standing on the duckboards we were still able to gain a semblance of understanding of the confinement in which they lived. The packs we carried (assumedly only a quarter of the weight) and the shoes we wore hurt our backs and feet as we marched the route to Tyne Cot cemetery. We practiced throwing fake grenades and putting on gas masks, a novelty for us but a reality for them. Most importantly, we were all certainly very obedient to our Lieutenant Atticus.

At Tyne Cot Cemetery I gave my first eulogy. Recognising Private Percival James’ name on a headstone triggered a strong emotional response in me, I could feel my voice cutting out while I was reading. Private James was a farmer in the Queensland cane fields and where he lies in Belgium overlooks a charming paddock. Despite this, it saddens me greatly that he is not at rest at home and that he never saw his family or his farm again. It was an honour to visit him and I am comforted that he has the company of his fallen comrades in the beautiful cemetery of Tyne Cot. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to remember him and bring him a piece of home. May Private Percival James rest in peace and be remembered always.

Following Tyne Cot, we made the journey back to Menin Gate and held a commemoration ceremony for all Australians lost in the Flanders region. The eulogies presented echoed throughout the monument and the number of names inscribed on the walls is haunting, considering how much they sacrificed.

So far on the journey we have shared many unforgettable moments, crying and laughing in solidarity. My favourite moment of today was walking out of Tyne Cot cemetery holding hands with many of the girls, feeling so supported and I am so grateful for the kindness and compassion we have shown each other throughout the trip. The Premier's Anzac Prize carries an emotional weight on all of us so I am glad we can all bear it together.

Last updated 28 August 2020