Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Beyond the Face Showcase

Useful links

There is so much more for students to learn beyond the face

On 7 February a workshop was held at Uni SA by the RSL Virtual War Memorial and DECD to support teachers interested in doing authentic work with their students involving researching servicemen and women from 20th Century conflicts. The workshop was called 'Beyond the Face' because resources such as the RSL Virtual War Memorial provide information that can help students develop a profile of a person beyond a name or picture. Over 70 teachers attended the event and the Minister for Education, Susan Close spoke at the workshop and shared her thoughts on the importance of teaching history to South Australian students - particular for young people to have an awareness and appreciation of the service and sacrifice of so many over time. 


Those attending received a range of resources to take back to their school to continue working with their students on this important area of history. Here are some of the resources and information from the showcase that may be useful for the teaching of history in your school ... or just your personal interest.

* A handout on researching a person: developed by Elsa Reuter, Project officer for the RSL Virtual War Memorial.

* Schools administration Guide for the VWM Schools Program. 

* A document on using original sources from the 'Windows to the Past' resource that was provided to participants.

Many of these resources support teachers preparing students to enter the 2017 Premier's ANZAC Spirit School Prize, being particularly cognisant of the values and potential of the RSL Virtual War Memorial to support this work.

 Some ideas to get started

* Naturally, visit the RSL Virtual War Memorial site at https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/ 
* Ask your family about an older family member or family friend who served or was involved in the conflict.
* Does your school have an Honour Board or Memorial Wall commemorating ex-students? 
* The first step for individuals who died during wartime will probably be to look them up on the Australian War Memorial website www.awm.gov.au where you will find lots of other useful links.  Start by going to ‘Research a person’ at www.awm.gov.au/research/people/ and entering either a name or service number. 
 * Research in your local library or local history museum for any local history accounts of an individual from your area participating in your selected conflict. 
* Visit the War Memorials in your local area to identify the names of locals who participated in your selected conflict. The RSL website links at www.rslsa.org.au/ may help you with this task. 
* Contact your local Returned & Services League (RSL) (www.rslsa.org.au/) to discuss the Premier’s ANZAC Spirit School Prize task and whether they can help your research.  The RSL is involved in the competition and have communicated details of the competition and study tour to all their branches.  Such personal contact could be invaluable in developing responses. 
* Visit the National Archives of Australia website at www.naa.gov.au/collection/explore/defence/service-records/army-wwi.aspx for detailed war records of individuals.
* Visit the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at www.cwgc.org/ for details  on overseas war cemeteries and graves.

The Premier's ANZAC Spirit School Prize blog
While you are on this blog (http://2016anzacprize.blogspot.com.au), take some time to read some amazing journal entries from the 2016 students who toured Vietnam and some background information on the Vietnam War provided to the students prior to departing.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I couldn’t have even anticipated how much this day would become engrained in me

Talia's Pa during his service, just out of Long Tan and Nui Dat.

The 2016 Premier's ANZAC Spirit School prize students led up Nui Dat landing area by their guide, Ms Thao.

A journal extract from Premier's ANZAC Spirit School Prize student Talia Goodliffe, whose Grandfather served in Vietnam.

Who could have anticipated that so much comprehension, emotion, experience and passion could have ever come from an essay written by a 10th grader?

Waking up this morning, I couldn’t have even anticipated how much this day would become engrained in me- how prominent and important of a memory and experience it was going to be. We were headed out for Nui Dat and Long Tan for the day and night. I spent the entire bus journey looking over information and maps that Pa had given me in advance specially for this day; all things including what to look out for, where he was involved in the war, where the fire support base he named “Lynette” after his wife and my Nan was located. I couldn’t help but feel so overwhelmed by the fact that these weren’t just stories anymore. I was seeing everything that he saw, all of these places he talked of were real and I was in the midst of all of it. We approached everything he had pointed out for me; the hills, the jungles, the highway connected to his old base, the artillery base itself. It was so much for me to handle and I couldn’t help but to shed a tear and only wish that he was here with me in Vietnam to teach me what he could, to tell me stories and show me where he walked and survived. All of this made me feel so grateful for him and I’ve never sat and thanked him and told him how much I appreciate him and everything he’s done for not only Australia, but for us. I just wanted to hold him so much today and tell him I understand now and that I’m so sorry that he had to endure what he did. But at the same time, I’m grateful for those hills, and I’m grateful for the jungle. For the heat, the humidity, the death, the heartbreak, the struggle and the endurance because without it all, Pa would never have met Nan. He would never have been the father that he was, and my mum would never have been the daughter and mother that she has been, and I wouldn’t have even been thought of let alone possible.

Writing an essay about an Aussie bloke that you learn so much about and gain a connection and a love for is only the start of what this opportunity gave me. My World War 1 soldier ‘Thomas Charles Richmond Baker’ and my soldier who fought in Vietnam ‘Maxwell Powell Hanley’ have given me so much and I can only hope that I gave them some form of validation or justice for their sacrifice in some small way, because without them, I would never have dreamt of comprehending my own family history as much as I do now. They were brave, selfless men that I would have loved to have had the privilege to know- and because of the ANZAC Spirit prize, I now feel like I do know them. They have become a sacred and special part of me that will never leave. They are the ones I think of every minute of silence, amongst the fallen ones who fought by their side, and I am devoted to their memory.