EVERY YEAR FOR THE PAST THIRTY YEARS, THE WODEN VALLEY RSL SUB-BRANCH HAS CONDUCTED THE ANNUAL PRIMARY SCHOOLS ANZAC AND PEACE CEREMONY IN APRIL. THE GENESIS OF THIS ANNUAL EVENT WAS HELD AT SIMPSON’S HILL, CHISHOLM, IN 1988.
The primary aim of the Ceremony is to assist young schoolchildren appreciate the culture of the ANZAC spirit and the price of peace.
Up to 500 students from 23 primary schools in the Woden and Tuggeranong regions attend the Ceremony. Students will be enlightened about the sacrifices made by Australian servicemen and women in all conflicts including war, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
Students and invited guests are invited to lay wreaths at the Memorial in Eddison Park, named after the original Woden Valley war settlers, the Eddison family, who lost three sons on Active Service during World War 11. Mrs Pamela Yonge, the last surviving child of Captain Walter and Marion Eddison, attends the Ceremony.
Also in attendance is the ACT Senior Schools Concert Band under the guidance of Naida Blackley; a Catafalque Party; a detachment of The Australian Light Horse Association and re-enactors of The Australian Great War Association. Students can also wear World War I costumes to add to the colourful atmosphere.
Another important aspect of the event will be the reading, by the author, of the winning essay in the Sub-Branch’s annual Essay Competition for Primary school students. The subject of this year’s competition was: The Consequences of War – what were the impacts on Australian veterans and the families of the fallen and injured after the end of World War I? Prizes are awarded for the top three essays.
Sub-Branch President Jim Gilchrist stated: “It is important for our young people to take time to reflect, learn and embrace the legacy of ANZAC. Students are encouraged to honour and appreciate the men and women of our Australian Defence Force, past and present. It is also a day to acknowledge the freedom we all enjoy. Thus we have the word Peace in the title of this ceremony, for all must constantly strive for world peace”.
The ceremony is conducted with the permission of and under the patronage and assistance of the ACT Education and Training Directorate.
All members of the Canberra community are welcome and encouraged to participate in this pre-ANZAC Day memorial event.