School Anzac Day services move online

Public schools have turned to technology – and their driveways – to commemorate one of Australia’s most important days of remembrance.

Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

Each year schools across the state mark the occasion with special assemblies and learning activities to acknowledge and understand the sacrifices made during the war.

Students at Sydney Secondary College have acknowledged Anzac Day with a service filmed in March in preparation for the changes to student learning due to COVID-19.

Sydney Secondary College filmed their Anzac service.

Welcome to the Sydney Secondary College commemorative service for Anzac Day 2020.

We would like to begin today's service by calling upon Felix to acknowledge Country.

Traditionally, when Aboriginal people would enter onto new country, they needed to seek permission from the elders for safe passage and to respectfully make their presence known to the spiritual ancestors. We the students of Balmain campus would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the Wangal people of the Eora nation and their Elders both past and present. They have flourished on this land and water for thousands of years and have contributed to the diversity of cultures we celebrate at this school today.

We appreciate that the Aboriginal land the school thrives on provides us with the opportunity for a quality education. We are proud to continue the tradition of acknowledging Country.

Anzac Day is the day to commemorate as we remember the sacrifice is made and the losses suffered for the freedoms we have today whilst we may feel our freedoms currently and momentarily curtailed, we are grateful for those who came before us and paved the way to the freedoms we have experienced and will experience again. We remember that whilst we may be suffering, our pain is nothing in comparison to those who experienced the Great War, the Spanish Influenza and World War II, all those who served for us in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, all those hardships of the peacekeepers who have entered war zones as the others fled.

This year's Anzac Day is particularly solemn as many who have known war aren't able to honour the fallen in the way they traditionally have but we will not let the challenges of life overcome our ability to honor and commemorate.

This year we commemorate the 75th anniversary of victory in the Pacific which ended the war for Australia and their allies. We commemorate World War II as a significant event in Australia's history; nearly 1 million Australians served in the armed forces during the war. It was also the first time since European settlement that Australia came under attack.

We remember Australia's war efforts from 1942 to 1945 in the Pacific region including in Singapore, Borneo, Malaya, Papua New Guinea and New Britain. It was a time when people worked hard and cooperated to defend the nation. We patiently queued for food and helped our neighbours.

On 15 August 1945, Japan accepted the Allied nations' terms of surrender and the Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley announced that the war was over.

Whilst Australians were jubilant the war was over, it was not without great losses. Some 40,000 Australians did not return home to their families. Over 17,000 of them lost their lives while fighting in the war against Japan, some 8 thousand of whom died in Japanese captivity.

Today we honour them and all those who are fallen in times of war and peace defending our nation; lest we forget.

Today we pay our respects to all Anzacs and especially those who fought in the Pacific by reciting the poem of remembrance. The poem of remembrance helps us remember the soldiers, army personnel, doctors, nurses, journalists and civilians who lost their lives or loved ones whilst fighting for their country.

Today we remember with thanksgiving those who made the supreme sacrifice for us in time of war. We pray that the offering of their lives may not have been in vain. Today we dedicate ourselves to the cause of justice, freedom and peace and for the wisdom and strength to build a better world.

We will now recite the Ode of Remembrance, a poem that helps us remember the sacrifice soldiers that have fallen in battle made for the freedom that we enjoy today. During this reading, we will present and lay a wreath in remembrance of those fallen soldiers.

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old,
age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
at the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
we will remember them.

Lest we forget.

The Last Post was a piece of music played traditionally to mark the end of the day for soldiers but now is a tribute to those who have passed.

Oliver will now play The Last Post after the post has been played we will observe a one minute silence followed by the playing of the rouse and the national anthem.

Thank you to all those who have served and showing us how to lead and respond when faced with adversity. On behalf of  Sydney Secondary College we would like to thank our staff and students for commemorating this day and continuing the tradition of commemoration.


The ceremony was presented by student leaders and shared to YouTube for all members of the school community to view.

Teachers at Merimbula Public School have recorded school staff reading the poem ‘For the Fallen’ and are encouraging students to recite the poem and stand at the end of their driveway for a minute’s silence at dawn on Anzac Day.

"We will remember them" – Teachers at Merimbula Public School read For the Fallen, a traditional part of Anzac services.

For the Fallen

By Robert Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children
England mourns for her dead across the sea,
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow,
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again,
They sit no more at familiar tables of home,
They have no lot in our labour of the daytime,
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires and hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the night.

As the stars shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest we forget
Lest we forget
Lest we forget.

End of transcript.

Hastings Secondary College student leaders are requesting students wear their school uniform, listen to the live broadcast on ABC radio of the National Memorial Service from the Australian War Memorial and stand at the end of their driveway at dawn to mark their respects.

“We have battle bushfires, floods and now coronavirus. It won't stop us from supporting our Anzacs this Anzac Day," the students said. "We encourage all students, parents and teachers to join us in standing in solidarity."

Students at Wattle Grove Public School participated in an online Anzac Day service on the last day of Term 1.

Student 1

On the morning of 25 April, 1914, Australian and New Zealand troops landed under fire on Gallipoli. It was then and in the battles that followed that the Anzac tradition was formed.

On this day, above all days, we remember all those who served our nation in times of war. We remember with pride their courage, their compassion and their comradeship. We remember what they accomplished for Australia and indeed for the freedom of mankind.

We honour those who died or were disabled in the tragedy of war, they adorn our nation's history. Our servicemen and women have left us a splendid heritage, may we and our successors prove worthy of their sacrifice.

Student 2

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest we forget.

At Wattle Grove Public School the local community traditionally gathers on the last day of Term 1 with a school commemorative service to remember the sacrifice of current and former Defence Force members. There are around 115 defence families at the school, which is close to the Holsworthy Barracks.

This year when the school was forced to cancel the planned service due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was determined to still commemorate Anzac Day in a way that was meaningful for the students.

“Usually our students play an active role in the proceedings with public speaking, raising the flags, laying wreaths and preparing artworks for the occasion,” Principal Nicole Cameron said.

“As our school transitioned to a model of learning online and from home, our Defence School Mentor, Kim Lazarevic, came up with the idea to film parts of a service to air on the last day of Term 1.

“The aim was to have our students involved as much as possible, given the requirement for social distancing,” she said.

Poppy lanterns created by students for a display were repurposed during the filming with each student holding one to symbolise a poppy field to remember soldiers who have died during war.

The school captains hosted the online service, which was shared to the school’s Facebook page, reaching more than 1,400 views. Year 5 and 6 students held a viewing in the school library with students learning remotely encouraged to participate in the service at home.

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