Deputy Principal - Students

REMEMBRANCE DAY

Remembrance Day this year saw Stacey Duffy and Thomas McMahon (Year 10) represented the College at the Sunbury RSL commemorative service.  Stacey and Thomas were given the honour of making the address at the service; an initiative of the Sunbury RSL sub branch to involve young people in reflecting the significance of this day. 

Thomas and Stacey spoke with pride and reverence on the day and were given much praise and thanks by all at the service. Special thanks to Ms Alison Roberts for her work with the students on the address.

Below is the speech

On Remembrance Day we traditionally set aside a few minutes of silence to remember the sacrifice of those who died in the Great War. Have you ever pondered the sounds of silence? It is amazing what we hear in these rare moments of stillness, some would suggest they are the quiet whispers of the soul. With this in mind, endeavour to focus your minds during the period of silence at the conclusion of this address

 What will you hear?

Today we are reflecting on the cessation of hostilities long ago, the supposed “war to end all wars” ending in an cease fire on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. It was a destructive and wasteful conflict in which nationalism, enabled by mass-produced weaponry, created a scale of destruction unknown in our human experience. The conflict was brutal, ugly, cruel and so frighteningly horrible that it is difficult to conceive in the comfort of our twenty-first century lives.

The following words from St John’s Gospel are carved into the stones of war memorials around the world:

Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for a friend!

A more inclusive version would read:

No greater love can there be than to lay down one’s life for a friend!

These are probably some of the most moving words ever written. We all have friends and we all know the importance of friendships, many of us also know the agony of friendship lost. To give one’s life for a friend must be the ultimate act of love.

In November of 1918 the Germans called for a ceasefire and they accepted the allied terms of unconditional surrender.  At 11am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of war.  The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month became universally associated with the remembrance of those who died.

So today’s ceremony commemorates the end of World War I and is a day when we remember those who have fought and paid the ultimate sacrifice for the people of this country.  As a consequence of the sacrifices made by many Australian Service men and women, we who live in this country today, can enjoy the freedom and the opportunities available in this richly endowed nation.  As such, we are deeply indebted to all who have gone before us, especially those who have courageously served this country in tragic wars.

When war was declared in late-1914, tens of thousands of healthy young Australian men joined the army and went to the other side of the world. In April, 1915, under the direction of English officers, they were part of the Allied invasion of Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula.

They were sadly unprepared for the savagery and hopelessness of their task against the courageous, well-prepared Turks defending their homeland.

One of the Allies’ objectives was an area of land about the size of a couple of basketball courts. The notable feature of the area was a single Aleppo Pine Tree. The ensuing battle became known as the Battle for the Lone Pine.

It was a brutal struggle that saw thousands of men from both sides killed or wounded. Little was achieved by the allies. The Turks stood their ground. This story was repeated until, eventually, the Allies were evacuated from Gallipoli at the end of 1915. Tens of thousands of lives were lost or damaged on both sides and the Allies gained nothing.

One Australian soldier souvenired a cone full of seeds from that Lone Pine and brought it home. Seeds from the cone were struck and one seedling was planted in the lawn in front of the National War Memorial in Canberra and has grown into a mighty, sprawling Aleppo Pine. Since then, seeds from that tree have been propagated and sent around Australia.

One family from Western Victoria who have associations with Rupertswood, passed on a seedling whose ancestry goes back to the Gallipoli Lone Pine. That young tree is growing on the hillside adjacent to the Salesian Residence and looking over the Ashes Oval. We are fortunate indeed to have such a powerful presence to remind us of sacrifices made by those who lived before us in the name of freedom and justice.

We remember all who have died in the air, on the sea and land.  We think of every man, woman and child who, in crucial years, have died hoping that the lights of freedom and justice might continue to shine.  We also remember those who have been left behind to bear the heavy weight of want, neglect and loneliness.  Today, we remember in a special way, the victims of terrorism – the new form of war.  May we and those who follow us prove worthy of the sacrifice of so many

“In the quietness of this time we remember the sounds of the battlefield,

We remember those who paid the supreme sacrifice,

all who lie buried in distant lands.

We remember all who have been engaged in defending freedom,

their bravery and dedication, their patriotism and humour, their resourcefulness and hope.

We remember sailors, soldiers and airmen, nurses, ancillary workers and civilians who suffered.

We remember ordinary Australians from such places as Albany or Atherton, from Balmain or

Burnie, from Geelong or Gawler, sons and daughters, husbands and wives,

fathers and mothers, lovers and relatives who served the nation in time of war.

Lord, we remember them; we honour them; we are grateful; we are free.”

 

Last Day of Term: Wednesday 2nd December

Please note that the last day of term for students in Year 7-11 is Wednesday 2 December.

On this day the College holds its annual Awards Ceremony. This is a formal event, and as such ALL students must wear the College Blazer to school and at the Ceremony.  At the completion of the Ceremony the following will occur:

Year 10 & 11 students will be dismissed and can go home (approximately 11.00am)

Year 7-9 Students: will have a recess, followed by walking to the Sunbury Aquatic Centre for an afternoon of swimming.   Students will be dismissed from the pool at 3.00pm.  Please note that all buses organised by Sunbury Secondary College and the three Salesian buses will be at the pool to take students home.  Please watch out for the Care Monkey permission soon.

Elaine Dugdale-Walker

Deputy Principal - Students