Parkes students encouraged to apply for Anzac program to tour battlefields

Troops of the 5th Division during the Battle of Passchendaele. Photo courtesy Australian War Memorial.
Troops of the 5th Division during the Battle of Passchendaele. Photo courtesy Australian War Memorial.

The Parkes Sub Branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia is encouraging local High School students to apply to tour the battlefields of Greece, Belgium and France as part of the 2018 Clubs NSW ANZAC Ambassadors Program.

Six young people from across NSW will have the opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime to historic battlefields of key World War I sites.

Parkes RSL Sub-Branch Secretary Paul Thomas is inviting Parkes students to apply for this unique Program.

“The program will see six students from across the state selected to tour the battlefields significant to the Australian World War I efforts and to represent the town of Parkes,” Paul said.

“World War I is considered Australia’s ‘baptism of fire’ with our country only newly minted some 14 years previously.

“It was the first time Australian soldiers had been deployed en-masse to war and this tour will highlight the immense sacrifice that these men and women made.”

The tour will visit Athens and Lemnos in Greece, Villes-Brettonneux in France, Passchendale in Belgium and London as part of the program.

The First World War remains the costliest conflict in terms of deaths and casualties for Australia.

From a population of fewer than five million at the time, 146,809 men enlisted, and more 60,000 were killed – 40,000 of these casualties were on the Western Front.

This program to major and key First World War battlegrounds is an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of the events and contributions made by young men and women that shaped our nation a century ago.

To apply students are asked to submit a 1000 word essay on the topic “Why is the Centenary of ANZAC important for modern Australia?”

The tour will leave Sydney on October 28 and return home on November 7.

Applications are now open and will close on Tuesday, July 31.

For further information about how to enter please visit www.clubsnsw.com.au/anzacambassadors

The NSW Minister for Veterans Affairs, David Elliott, will accompany the group on the tour.

“This journey to key First World War battlegrounds, to retrace the steps of our Anzacs, is an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of the events and contributions made by young men and women that shaped our nation a century ago," Mr Elliott said. 

ClubsNSW CEO, Anthony Ball said the organisation is proud to support this annual program.

“It gives students a first-hand appreciation of just how tough it must have been for Australians on the front line, Mr Ball said.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for school students to learn about the contributions and sacrifices made by Anzac soldiers and to pass this knowledge onto their peers when they return home.”

You can view photos from the 2017 Premier's ANZAC Ambassadors trip on the website www.clubsnsw.com.au/anzacambassadors