Parramatta student journeys in the footsteps of Australian ANZACs to Darwin and Singapore

Parramatta student journeys in the footsteps of Australian ANZACs to Darwin and Singapore

As Australia and the Commonwealth commemorate Remembrance Day, Parramatta Marist High School Year 10 student Lucas McClintock has highlighted the importance of remembering the service and sacrifice of Australia’s servicemen and women after being among a group of 20 students selected for the prestigious 2023 Premier’s ANZAC Memorial Scholarship tour of Darwin and Singapore.

The two-week historical study tour, which took place in October, provides Year 10 and 11 History students with the opportunity to visit important places associated with Australia’s military history and further develop their knowledge of the contributions of Australians at war.

“The trip focused on teaching us about history and historical skills but also the value of remembering our past servicemen,” said Lucas.

When young people understand history they also understand the sacrifices that many made to create the current Australian status quo.

“We went to 10 indoor museums and 14 outdoor sites to shape my understanding of history. It was great to travel with other history students from all around NSW who have a like-minded enthusiasm, to learn more about our military past and immerse ourselves in our Australian history.”

Accompanied by a military historian, students were taught more about Australia’s military past to give them a deeper understanding of the importance of commemoration. Lucas was moved by the experience of visiting the site of The Bombing of Darwin that occurred in 1942.

“I visited the Japanese landing beach and pointed towards the direction where the Japanese bombers came,” said Lucas. “I saw murals painted by prisoners of war and looked through the doors which was what Australian prisoners of war would have witnessed for years.”

The keen student was also interested to learn more about the story of Gunner Wilbert Thomas Hudson. The tour visited the location where the young Army Gunner famously shot down one of the Japanese enemy planes for which he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery.

“This sort of immediate education, where I am at the location, can more easily teach what Gunner would have felt with hundreds of Japanese planes going overhead,” said Lucas.

The school community at Parramatta Marist expressed their pride in Lucas’ participation in such a profound and enriching learning experience.

“What a rewarding opportunity to grow as an historian and as a citizen,” said Keren Ashby, Parramatta Marist HSIE & English Teacher. “This scholarship has provided Lucas with the ability to bring his knowledge and experiences back to our school community where he can assist staff and students in nurturing their appreciation and understanding of Australians at war and in defence services.”

“The role that young people play in actively participating in the remembering of history cannot be overstated. Experiences such as this allow them to recognise, remember and discuss the freedoms men and women fought to preserve; the legacy of service and sacrifice; and the courage, endurance and mateship present during incomprehensible hardship.”