18 June 2018

We are shaped by our past

As the country paused to reflect on the sacrifices made by Australian service people during World War I as part of our national Remembrance Day on 11 November, all boys from Year 1 to Year 12 gathered on the top oval in the Senior School for a moving service. As part of this service the names of Old Scotch Collegians and teaching staff that gave the extreme sacrifice in World War I were read. It is difficult to listen to these names without imagining how the parents of these boys would have felt on learning of their son's sacrifice. For a group of our current Scotch boys these names had heightened meaning.

One hundred years to the day after Australian and New Zealand troops landed on the shores of ANZAC Cove, Bailey van der Zanden (Year 11, Ferguson) and Harry Jones (Year 12, Alexander), stood silently amongst thousands of visitors at a sombre and moving dawn service at Gallipoli. Two weeks earlier, 30 Scotch boys accompanied by Mr Bradley, Mr Hindle and Mr Bennett visited the war cemeteries, monuments and trenches on the Gallipoli Peninsula. It would have been sobering to stand in silence on the same ground that, 100 years earlier, was the scene of a fierce battle between young Australian, New Zealand and Turkish troops.

It is important for our boys to remember the qualities of the ANZAC spirit of loyalty, courage, mateship and pride that were used to overcome adversity 100 years ago are the same qualities that we draw upon today to meet the challenges that lie before us. The examples are numerous and include the boys who walk the full length of the Bibbulmun Track or those who played in the Firsts Rugby team or rowed in the First VIII to lift the Brother Redmond Cup and the Challenge Cup respectively.

Boys and visitors to the School are encouraged to take time to stop and read the names of those listed on the honour board hanging in the front reception of Collegians' House to remember the Scotch Boys before us who gave so much so that we can now demonstrate their same qualities on the sporting field, in the classroom and in rehearsal, not at war.

Dr Rob McEwan

Head of Senior School