Page 1456 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 May 2015

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First, I would like to thank Rosary primary for the invitation to attend their Anzac ceremony held at the lone pine tree on their school oval. I met members of the Australian armed forces and many members of the Rosary school community, including Lieutenant Colonel Paul Rogers, Squadron Leader Ric Peapell and parish priest Father Kieran. Father Bernie, who was a former military chaplain, also was in attendance.

As with last year, there was a great performance by the years 5 and 6 string ensemble—Maddy Jiang, Elisha Adisa, Natalie Neshev, Lucinda Peapell, Sara Blakey and James Northcote. It was good to see the respect shown by the representatives from each year level as they placed their respective wreaths, as part of the solemn ceremony that also included flag-raisers Patrick Bethune and Boyd Kelly. Indeed, the whole student body of Rosary primary showed exemplary discipline and respect during the ceremony.

Congratulations once again to Alison Marks and Philippa Brotchie, who coordinated the ceremony and the Rosary remembers Anzac display. Their organisation of this wonderful commemoration event sets a high benchmark for future events. Congratulations also to principal Maureen Doszpot and her enthusiastic admin and teaching staff for their commitment to Rosary primary and to the school community. It always makes it a pleasure to attend events at the school.

In the afternoon I attended the St Clare’s College school assembly, where I was invited to be one of the two speakers for their special Anzac tribute. I thank school principal Mr Paul Carroll, teachers, staff and students for inviting me to join the St Clare’s College community for this special occasion. My special thanks and congratulations go to Sarah Huntly, the defence transition coordinator, who did such a great job in organising this respectful commemoration.

I was honoured to pay tribute to our Anzac servicemen and women and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first landing at Gallipoli. Anzac Day is one of our most important national occasions as it marks the anniversary of the first major military action Australia and New Zealand fought during the First World War. This year is particularly special as it marks 100 years since the Anzac troops first landed at the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915. The campaign endured for eight long months, during which time Australia lost an estimated 8,709 soldiers.

During this 50th anniversary year of St Clare’s College, I felt that it was fitting that I also talk about an often overlooked area of military history—that is, the significant contribution made by women and families during the war. I also note that St Clare’s College has quite a number of Defence Force families in the college community, and for those families the commemoration of the day obviously had extra significance.

The families of our Anzac solders—the mothers, wives and sisters—100 years ago played a critical support role for the men at the front and helped to pave the way towards gender equality in the workforce. Women, of course, made a huge contribution to the war effort not only on the battlefields as nurses but on the home front as well. From a population of around five million Australians in 1914, 416,809

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