This Term started with a solemn service for ANZAC Day, contributed to by many.
Shinu Bindal, a Year 10 student, delivered a resounding successful address, blending his experience as an Australian Navy Cadet, his understanding of Servant Leadership as displayed by our ANZACs and his family’s culture and religion of Sikhism. Mr Mark Hassell then shared that there were many cultures and religions who fought alongside our ANZACs but it was the Sikhs who received the most Victoria Crosses for their bravery, courage and self-sacrifice.
There was a surprise “Did you know?” question posed by Miss Charlotte Oates-Pryor, a Year 11 student, before the service began, which evidenced the fact that we have a Lone Pine tree between the Chapel and the front school gate. This history is as follows:-
On 6 August 1915, the 1st Australian Infantry Division launched a major offensive at Plateau 400 on Gallipoli. The ridges, once covered with the Aleppo pine, had been cleared to provide cover for the Turkish trenches, leaving just one, solitary pine. The area became known as Lone Pine Ridge.
After three days of brutal fighting, the ANZACs succeeded in capturing the enemy trenches, but this bloody action cost the Australians 2,000 men. The Turks’ losses were estimated at 7,000.
After the battle, Lance Corporal Benjamin Charles Smith, 3rd Battalion AIF, collected several pine cones from the branches used to cover the Turkish trenches. He sent the cones home to his mother, Jane McMullin, in remembrance of his brother Mark, who had died in the fighting on 6 August. From one of these cones, Mrs McMullin sowed several seeds, and successfully raised two seedlings. One was planted in Inverell, where both her sons had enlisted. The other was presented to the Australian War Memorial, to be planted in the grounds in honour of all the sons who fell at Lone Pine.
The Lone Pine in our own Chapel precinct is one of its seedlings.
The students were then asked that when they passed it, remember to honour the fallen soldiers who we commemorated at our ANZAC Day Service.
This week at our Elphin Campus, our first topic for this Term’s CONNECT is Peace. It couldn’t be a more fitting way to end the ANZAC week than to remind ourselves how to create peace in our lives every day so that we and others do not have to learn war any more.
 Lone Pine Seedlings | Australian War Memorial (awm.gov.au) Website accessed 25th April, 2023.