IT WAS a fascinating and moving history lesson – not only for the students who conducted the Battle for Australia memorial service yesterday, but also for the members of the public who attended.
Students from many Tamworth high schools led the service at Tamworth War Memorial Town Hall to honour those who fought and died in the Battle for Australia during WWII.
Unlike other Tamworth RSL Sub-branch functions, it was conducted entirely by students.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Tamworth RSL Sub-branch secretary Jayne McCarthy told the 100-strong crowd the students did a great job.
“I’m very proud of the students here today. It’s been a small, but intimate ceremony,” Mrs McCarthy said.
From the Last Post, sounded by Calrossy Anglican School’s Leah Griffiths, to The Lament played by bagpiper Bob McKenzie, and Calrossy Anglican Primary School’s Year 4 and 5 pupils singing three songs including The Last Anzac and Hymn to Freedom, it was a ceremony marked with respect, musical accolades and plenty of sonorous words.
The purpose of the service was to accord national honour and commemoration to all of those who took part in the many operations that comprised the Battle for Australia and to ensure that Australian resistance to, and the ultimate defeat of the Japanese offensive against Australia, was not forgotten.
Emily Owen of Tamworth High School was master of ceremonies and Calrossy Anglican School student Anna McKenzie the keynote speaker.
The Ode of Remembrance was recited by Ryan Parker of Peel High School.
Catafalque party duties were carried out beautifully by the 209 Army Cadet Unit.
The Commemoration for the Fallen was read by Father Tom Shanahan, who also read a passage from The Bible.At least 19 wreaths were laid in respect of the fallen, including from schools, the navy, airforce, army, Legacy, the Tamworth & District War Widows’ Guild, the 12/16th Hunter River Lancers, the 24th Light Horse Regiment Association and the Gaba Binyaal Elders Group.