From Gallipoli

Report from Ms Andrea Hickey, who caught up with Brianna Ushay, our Year 12 student who was selected to tour as part of the Premier 's Anzac Prize group.
"The ceremony at ANZAC Cove was moving and for me highlighted the impact, significance and importance of the event for Australia as well as New Zealand and Turkey. Throughout the service the cultural traditions of each of the three countries were highlighted and celebrated with a reflection on how the Gallipoli campaign whilst tragic for all has assisted in the development of each national identity/history. It further highlighted how the three nations have come together following the 8 month battle through reference to the speech made by Turkey's first president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1934 in which he recognised the manner in which all men fought with pride and stated that those who lost their lives "are now lying in the soil of a friendly county... After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."
Following the dawn service we made the journey up Artillery Road through Clark Valley to Lone Pine. Along the way we had the opportunity to visit several of the cemeteries and it was special to see the large number of people there finding the 'graves' of family members past and spending time with them and laying various tributes.
The service at Lone Pine was again a moving and humbling experience. It highlighted, not surprisingly, the battle of Lone Pine in August of 1915 and the spirit with which those men carried out what was asked of them. Again we heard that the tasks were all carried out by "ordinary men who found extraordinary determination and bravery".  These ordinary men did what they did for their values including "unconditional loyalty in mateship; endurance in hardship; courage, even in the face of certain death; sacrifice in the name of service." It is these enduring values that we continue to admire and honour. Readings at the service again included extracts from letters and diaries highlighting the events that took place with a focus on the spirit in which they were done as well as the emotional cost involved to many.
Following the service at Lone Pine there was ample time to look around and experience the once battlefield. During this time I met my great uncle who was a bomber in WWII (and grandson of Lt Col Lee of the 9th Battalion). I also managed to surprise myself in my ability to find Brianna and check in with her. She was enjoying herself (as you can see in her smile in the attached photo) and looking forward to the rest of her trip. It was also incredible to see just beyond the pristine grounds of the Lone Pine Cemetery remain some of the trenches. They are very much still there and proved to be a reason to pause and reflect (again).
The whole experience was... powerful and one I will never forget."
Overall, the whole commemoration was very powerful leading us all to think and be thankful for what we have and the legacy of " mateship", community and courage for the challenges presented to us.