ANZAC Day was commemorated on Monday 25th April, the day before Term 2 started. Despite the unusual circumstances, I was fortunate to march with a contingent from the School. School Captains Joe Brooks and Riley Welsh spoke extremely eloquently on ‘What ANZAC Day means to me.’ I have since been told by many present how impressive they were. They have certainly been well publicised in local media.
Tilly Pinn and Mackenzie Welsh laid a wreath on behalf of the School during the Rutherglen service. Elsewhere, Corporal Lochlan Arnold proudly carried the Australian flags, representing the 33ACU Wangaratta.
Every year it is a very positive sign that young people are a key element in the commemorations such as ANZAC Day.
On the day, there were representatives of the three Rutherglen schools as well as community service groups ranging from CFA to SES and Rotary and Apex Clubs.
The local cubs, scouts and venturers were also involved.
Published below is the story shared by Joe Brooks. – RHS Principal, Phil Rogers
Edward Albert ‘Tedda’ Brooks was an infantry man who fought in Gallipoli when he was only 20 years old. Albert was the great-grandfather of School Captain Joe Brooks. Joe shared this account during the ANZAC Day ceremony in Rutherglen last week:
On the 26th of June 1915, Edward left Australia on the H.M.A.T Berrima and arrived at Gallipoli on the 16th of September. He would spend the next three years fighting until returning home on the 24th of August 1918 due to a badly ulcerated leg. Being a survivor of WWI, Tedda settled back into an everyday lifestyle in Sans Souci Sydney, soon marrying my great grandmother Elizabeth McClure. They went on to have five children, one of whom is my grandfather. Tedda was able to advise and be behind the scenes of the film ‘Gallipoli’ starring Mel Gibson, as he was president of the Gallipoli legion at the time; then going on to live a long life, living to the ripe old age of 102.
My grandfather, Max Brooks son of Edward, grew up as a young boy through WWII. Pop was born on the 1st of December 1931 and can remember growing up through WWII in Sydney, he told me a story, at the time Pop was 10 or 11 and he remembers watching the movies with his brother when the Japanese submarines invaded Sydney harbour. Pop told me a message on the screen appeared saying that ‘everyone is to go home and be safe or stay and continue watching the film’.
Pop and his brother decided to stay, but he told me how when they left the cinemas, Sydney was in darkness, the power had been cut off, he was frightened. I also asked Pop about school and what school was like in during WWII. He said teachers were all brought out of retirement and had some age about them as the younger ones went off to war.
I not only had family go into war, I also had family who stayed home in Australia to farm and harvest crops for food, for the soldiers and local areas. My Nan’s father never went to war, he stayed home to maintain the farm and harvesting crops for food and keeping the economy running whilst war was on going.
ANZAC Day is a day that I can be proud of who I am and my ancestors. Whilst talking to my grandfather he said ‘If old Pop Brooks never came home from the war, we very well might not be here today, you and I’. So, I am proud that I can say my great-grandfather served his time at war, and I can feel proud and honoured to wear his medals and march with my school to remember not only him, but the thousands of men and women who fought for our country’s freedom.
The bravery they showed back then is unforgettable. As a young 18-year I am grateful that because of them I have the knowledge and choice that I hopefully won’t have to fight at war. I am proud and honoured that I can celebrate ANZAC day with my school, my town and my country.