Tuesday, 24 April 2012 23:14

ANZAC DAY 2012: LEST WE FORGET

ANZAC Day 2012: Monivae College

The Monivae College Cadet Unit will again be marching in the ANZAC Day March at the Shrine of Remembrance on Birdwood Ave, Melbourne beginning at 9:00am.

The Cadet Unit will also have representation at the Hamilton RSL ANZAC Day Parade.

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Each year a student from one of the Hamilton Secondary Schools is asked to present a speech on ANZAC Day. In 2011 Sarah Noske from Monivae was given that honour, here is a copy of her speech.

Good morning, my name is Sarah Noske and I am currently doing Year 12 at Monivae College. When I was asked by my school principal to be the guest speaker for this year's ANZAC day commemorations I honestly had no idea what I was going to talk about. I didn't want to be one of those speakers that reads out a whole lot of statistics and facts and rattles on for what seems like ages. So I decided to write this speech about something that is relevant for us all here today. The Australian Character; while some may know what this is others will be asking, what am I on about? Well I asked the exact question when it was asked to me. The Australian character isn't a specific person but overall how people from other countries see us, who are we as Australians and what makes us so individual. Over time many moments in our rich history have shaped this character. From our Federation in 1901 to the Great Depression leading up to the Second World War, right up to our current policies on asylum seekers. But one period specifically was a huge contributor to our nation's character. And that period of time was from 1914 to 1918, World War One.

During this war young boys became men and leaders and heroes were discovered under harsh and testing conditions. Over those horrific four years when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps suffered a huge number of casualties while fighting under the union jack, the Australian character was being formed. We were quickly finding our feet as a young nation following the federation of the six colonies 13 years earlier on January the 1st 1901. Although we were only talking our first steps, an image of the Australian character was quickly being established, through the qualities our young men showed when fighting. Against all odds our men showed bravery, stoicism, courage, mateship, endurance, resilience and we showed that at times we could be rebellious but this worked well for us. 

An Australian soldier who showed these qualities through and through was English born John Simpson Kilpatrick. He was one who disregarded orders, and his own safety, in his single-minded determination to save others. His refusal to report to his own field ambulance post was a direct affront to his commanding officer's ego, not to mention considerations of military tradition, etiquette and discipline. For the first four days of fighting he was technically a deserter until his commanding officer, seeing the value of his work, agreed to turn a blind eye to rules and approved his actions. 

The term digger has also been a word that our Australian soldiers have been associated with. This term came about in Gallipoli when the ANZACS dug deep trenches to escape the shower of bullets and shrapnel and for some, these trenches was where they lived. Still today soldiers that serve overseas as peacekeepers are referred to as diggers even though we do not come under constant fire from enemy lines and have to dig and retreat into trenches.

When World War One broke out in 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, England went straight into the war and because Australia depended on Britain for its defence and we were also part of the powerful British Empire we quickly joined them under their officer's command. Labour Prime minister Andrew Fisher pledged that Australia would help England ‘to the last man and the last shilling' and when he initially called for 20,000 volunteers for the Australian Imperial Force, the government received 50,000 responses. This shows the huge dedication a man can have to his country. The 1981 film Gallipoli, demonstrated the excitement and innocence of these young men who enlisted. Many enlisted for a great adventure and a chance to see the world and also because the army offered food and pay. There was general view by all that the war would quickly end and few people would get hurt but unfortunately this was not the case.

Four out of ten Australian men between the ages of 18 and 45 joined up and in total around three hundred and thirty thousand men were sent overseas to the muddy trenches of Gallipoli.

As Australians we are so lucky that we are not confronted with war on our doorsteps. But this doesn't mean we have forgotten what has happened in the past and it doesn't mean the war doesn't impact our lives today. The ANZAC biscuit which was sent overseas to the soldiers is a legacy that lives on. Each year we still stop and remember those that bravely fought, whether that's through taking part in a service like us all here today, watching the annual ANZAC day football match where Collingwood and Essendon play or something as simple as buying a badge. This annual tradition is part of who we are as Australians and the war helped shape who we are today. But has our Australian character and the way people see us been tarnished over the years from event such as the Cronulla riots in 2005 or our approach to processing and accepting those refugees from other countries that risk their lives to come over here to have a better life. Do we want to be the ones that turn away innocent people because of their race or other circumstances? Are these incidents that have happened over the past couple of years now defining who we are as Australians?

Are we at risk of losing the Australian character? I believe more education should be offered in schools about our Australian history at war and we need more young men and women of today to stand up and be role models for the younger generations of Australia and embody the spirit of the diggers, after all we are the future for this proud nation.

In 2008 and 2009 I was privileged to be part of the Monivae Cadet Unit. Many people are turned off by the idea of sleeping under a tarp, and living in the bush for a week without all the luxuries that we get back home but for me it was about something different. It was about the friendships that I made and the leadership qualities that I picked up. Being a lance corporal for my senior year as a cadet also gave me the opportunity to be responsible for a small section of junior girls and this gave me so much confidence that has truly helped me this year. Today's Army and the many cadet units in Australia including Monivae's Cadet Unit carry on a tradition steeped in the core values of 'courage, initiative and teamwork.' What binds these values together is one of the true icons of Australian history - the Rising Sun badge. While the Rising Sun badge has evolved over time, the soldier that wears the badge has maintained a proud tradition of service to the nation. Every October the Monivae Cadet Unit have their annual parade, and it is on this day that we upturn our slouch hats and proudly display that Rising Sun badge.

Finally today as we gather here, we acknowledge the men and woman who served overseas; we look back at their achievements and their losses in war. But we also look to the future of this country and what it has to bring. We should look to the future and live our lives in a way that honours the service of all our diggers. And we should reflect on the qualities our ANZACs took to the battlefields that largely contributed to our Australian character.

Thank you for your time and the opportunity to speak here today.

Among the crowd that year was Mr Les Millard, a veteran from 1939-1945. Mr. Millard was very moved by the speech Sarah presented on this day and as a result, arranged a meeting with Sarah alongside Mr Mark McGinnity, Principal of Monivae College, to express just how grateful he was for the tremendous work Sarah put towards preparing this very moving ANZAC Day speech. It was here that Mr Millard presented Sarah with his original Rising Sun Badge off his slouch hat, as he thought it would be incredibly meaningful to her. Sarah gratefully accepted the badge, knowing she had been given a rare memento of her speech, and of a soldier's commitment to defending his country.

Cadets

The Monivae College Cadet Unit provides opportunities for leadership, people management skills and teamwork in the context of an outdoor educational program.

Cadets introduces both boys and girls to a range of activities that will give them more recreational and service options in later life.

Cadets build confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance, endurance and resposibility.

The Monivae College Cadet Unit is one of the largest school cadet units in Victoria. All Year 9 & 10 students participate. For Year 11 and 12 students it is voluntary, with over 50% of students choosing to be involved.
Activities include:

  • Annual camp
  • Cadet band
  • Ceremonial parade
  • Leadership courses
  • Abseiling and obstacle courses
  • Archery
  • Water safety and scuba diving
  • Canoeing
  • Bushwalking
  • Rope crafts
  • Bivouacs
  • Lectures
  • Firearms safety program
  • Navigational exercises
  • Ambulance lectures and first aid
  • Drill
  • Home training days
  • Unarmed combat
  • Field exercises

The major activities this year in cadets, beside regular training days, have been the recruit Bivouac in March, the Annual Camp in May and the Course Camp just finished. Future activities include nine cadets participating Exercise Cool Shot, the biathlon activity involving shooting and skiing in August. Exercise Emu 10 in the first week of the next holidays is the Annual Camp of the other units in the Brigade and it is anticipated a significant number of Monivae cadets will attend. The Monivae Cadet Parade in October and the Junior Leaders course in December finish off activities for the year.

Australian Army Cadets is the largest youth training organisation in Australia and aims to train young people in skills of leadership, discipline, service and generally being able to look after themselves in many different types of circumstances. This training is done in a military setting in the style of the Australia Army.

The cadet program at Monivae adds greatly to the rich flavour and diversity of educational opportunities the school has to offer. In cadets the motto is "Courage, Initiative, Teamwork". All cadets and staff involved in the PCC 1/10 had a very enjoyable and enriching experience.

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