WWI artefacts on show for Premier’s Anzac Prize winners01 March 2023
A rare opportunity to get up close and personal with WWI artefacts was one of the many learning experiences offered as part of the Premier’s Anzac Prize program for 2023.
During the aptly named ‘White Gloves Experience’, artefacts held by the State Library of Queensland were brought out of storage to be handled by the 2023 Premier’s Anzac Prize winners, who will embark on a 16-day educational tour of WWI battlefields, war graves and memorials in the lead up to ANZAC Day.
RSL Queensland recognises the importance of helping young people understand how the ANZACs contributed to making Australia what it is today, which is why the organisation has signed on as a platinum sponsor of the Premier’s Anzac Prize for the next three years.
Eight school students from Years 8 to 11 and two teacher chaperones will travel to Europe for the 2023 tour. They will be joined later in the tour by Assistant Minister to the Premier for Veterans’ Affairs Bart Mellish MP.
RSL Queensland State President Major General Stephen Day DSC AM joined the successful prize recipients for the White Gloves Experience. He said the program was about passing down an understanding of the ANZAC spirit to the next generation.
“You're about to embark on a journey of understanding. Your journey is not just about military history – rather, it's a journey of understanding into the heart of the spirit of Australia,” MAJGEN Day told students.
“No one who goes to the Western Front and Gallipoli cannot be affected in some sort of deep emotional way. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to add that spiritual dimension to their book learning.”
Honouring their sacrifice
Dashiell (Dash) Solomon, a Year 11 student at Ambrose Treacy College, was one of the students selected to participate in the prize.
“I feel like it's really important that we honour the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” Dash says.
“I have a great-grandfather who served in the First World War, so my family has that little connection there. But otherwise, I think because we live in this amazing country with liberty and freedom, we should be honouring the people who helped give that to us.”
Prior to their departure, each student will undertake and publish a research project into two veterans, their lives and battles they fought.
The State Library of Queensland supports students with their research, providing a two-day Young Historians’ Workshop. The workshop includes the White Gloves Experience and a visit to Brisbane’s Anzac Square & Memorial Galleries.
Students will also take part in community engagement and fundraising projects for Mates4Mates before their European tour. Visit supportmates4mates.org to learn more.
Ambassadors for the ANZAC legacy
The 2023 Premier’s Anzac Prize tour will begin with a visit to the Churchill War Rooms and the Imperial War Museum in London. Students will then visit key landmarks in Paris before heading to the 1916 battlefield of Fromelles, where Australia lost 5,533 men during its first action on the Western Front.
The tour group will also visit Australian Memorial Park, VC Corner Cemetery (the only all-Australian cemetery in France) and see the site of the recently discovered Australian mass grave at Pheasant Wood.
The remainder of the tour will be packed with similar learning experiences leading up to the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, which bears the names of almost 11,000 Australians missing in France.
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