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Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Page: 4257

Mr ANTHONY SMITH (7:29 PM) —It is my pleasure to rise this evening in this House to pay tribute to some of our veterans organisations and our local schools in particular who did so much on Anzac Day and in the days following Anzac Day to do their part in remembering the local and national history of that important occasion. Lilydale and district schools have instituted an Anzac service, which is held a couple of days after Anzac Day. The purpose, of course, is for the schools to play their part, but the entire service is conducted by a number of students from a number of primary schools.

I want to pay tribute to Mr Lindsay Rotherham, for his effort in organising the event, and others from the Yarra Valley group of Legacy, and to Mr Peter Donaldson, the Principal of the Coldstream Primary School, and all the others who helped organise this event. As I said, schoolchildren have the ownership and conduct the entire service, with students representing each of the schools performing part of the service. Veterans were in attendance from local RSLs, as you would expect, along with the local combined war widows club, who provided morning tea. Coldstream Primary’s Principal, Peter Donaldson, whom I have mentioned, was instrumental in helping to organise last year’s service, and Coldstream Primary, along with a number of other schools, played an important role on the day.

I want to recognise each of the schools and the role that the students played. Coldstream did the welcome, the motion of sympathy and the flag raising. The students representing Manchester Primary School read the time line of Anzac. Lilydale Primary School spoke of the notable service personnel. Bimbadeen Heights Primary School gave an address on the history of animals in wartime. Wandin North Primary School explained the symbolic meaning of the poppies and rosemary. Birmingham Primary School told the story of Simpson and his donkey. Rolling Hills Primary School recited In Flanders Fields. Gruyere Primary School recited We shall keep the faith. St Patrick’s Primary School recited The peace prayer of St Francis. Gladesville Primary School recited The Lord’s Prayer. And Yering Primary School recited The ode.

Representatives of each of the schools laid a wreath, along with the members of parliament and RSL representatives who were present. This was a great service conducted by the schoolchildren from those primary schools. They were able to learn their part of this important history in the lead-up to the service and then play an important role in conducting the service on behalf of their schools.

Like all of us, Mr Speaker, I also had the opportunity in the lead-up to Anzac Day and on Anzac Day itself to meet a number of these schools who conducted their own services at their schools. I have just mentioned Yering Primary school, who held a service at the corner of the Maroondah Highway and the Melba Highway, where the memorial is outside the front of Dame Nellie Melba’s historic home. Yering is a very small school of 30 students that was established in 1869, and it was great to see the students conduct that service. Monbulk Primary School, who have a great history of remembering the contribution of former students from the school in all of Australia’s conflicts, also had a very touching service a bit later on the same day and planted a pine tree in recognition of Lone Pine. I want to pay tribute to the students from Monbulk Primary School and the principal, Ray Yates, and to the president of the local RSL, Mr Ted Beard, the vice-president, John Surridge, and former councillor Alan Fincher, who were also in attendance. All of the children laid handmade poppies at the foot of the pine tree that they had planted and the choir performed The Last Anzac. On Anzac Day itself, the school also played a critical role in the service that day. (Time expired)