ANZAC spirit lives on

In September last year, high school students across Queensland were given the opportunity to apply for the 2024 Premier’s Anzac Prize. Run by the Queensland Department of Education in partnership with the Retired Services League (RSL) of Australia, the prize allows students to gain greater insight into the ANZAC legacy through research, workshops, and a study tour to significant sites on the Western Front in April.

The main component of the application involved creating a multimodal presentation in response to the question: ‘How might the diverse stories of the ANZAC Spirit, forged from overwhelming odds and sacrifice, inspire Australians to be resilient in an ever-changing and increasingly challenging world?’

I, along with seven other students across Queensland, was fortunate enough to be accepted into the 2024 Prize and have been given the opportunity to participate in several activities. These included a two-day research workshop at the State Library and a white-gloves experience in January, a fundraiser for Mates4Mates, and presenting to a primary school about our research and the ANZAC spirit.

Established by RSL Queensland in 2013, Mates4Mates is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to support serving and veteran Defence Force members and their families by providing physical rehabilitation and mental health services. In Term 1, with the help of some friends, I ran a lunchtime bake stall for my fundraiser, with all proceeds going towards Mates4Mates.

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to visit my primary school, Coorparoo State School, with RSL member, Mr Adrian Pate, and present to two Year 6 classes about the soldiers I had been researching: Alexander Smith Patterson and Andrew Olsen. Mr Pate also delivered the Postcards of Honour activity in which the students decorated and wrote postcards for veteran soldiers to thank them for their service. The students also decorated three commemorative wooden crosses, which will be brought to the Western Front and placed by the graves of Patterson and Olsen.

Early in Term 2, I will travel with the seven other recipients to London, France, and Belgium for a study tour to visit memorial sites and gain a deeper understanding of the ANZAC Spirit. Most notably, we will be attending a dawn service at the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, which bears the names of 10 729 Australian soldiers with no known grave.

Jacqueline Loh (Year 11)

In Term 1, Jacqueline ran a lunchtime bake stall for her fundraiser, with all proceeds going towards Mates4Mates