NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall is encouraging local high schools to apply for places that will see students walk in the footsteps of heroes as part of commemoration services at some of the most significant Australian battlefields on the Western Front next year.
Mr Marshall joined NSW Minister for Veterans’ Affairs David Elliott today to launch the 2017 Premier’s ANZAC Memorial Scholarship and he hopes to see a strong contingent from across the region apply to join the 2017 tour.
The scholarship is available to Year 10 and 11 students with a keen interest in history and enables young history buffs to “visit key battlefields and memorial sites where our Anzac history is brought to life.”
“In 2017 scholars will take part in commemorations of the Third Battle of Ypres in Flanders marking 100 years since the British offensive in which Australia lost 38,000 men,” Mr Marshall said.
The 12-day tour will also take in other significant Australian battlefields on the Western Front in Belgium and France including Villiers Bretonneux, Pozieres and Fromelles.
Mr Marshall said the scholarship scheme was a great opportunity to give northern students the chance to retrace the steps of thousands across the most horrific of battlefields and to visit some sacred sites where so many young Australians from across the region had fought and died.
“We have a beautiful but soul-wrenching and sobering legacy from the horrors of the Western Front and of the hundreds of New England and North West service people who served so valiantly over there and this scholarship can give our young people a very real experience of that legacy,” Mr Marshall said.
“We saw two young students, Hunter Davidson from Guyra, and Jim Skinner from Warialda High School win places for the 2016 scholarship earlier this year which saw 24 outstanding students tour some of the battlefields which were the setting for displays of great sacrifice by the ANZACs.
“The launch of the 2017 Premier’s ANZAC Memorial Scholarship is another opportunity for more of our regional students to get a first-hand experience into Australia’s involvement in the First World War and the birth of the ANZAC legend.
“I urge all high schools in our region to participate so that this region can be represented on that tour.”
Government, Catholic and independent schools that submit an expression of interest will go into a ballot that will be drawn on 21 November.
The 20 schools selected will then nominate one student each to take part in the 2017 tour.
Expressions of interest can be lodged online until 5pm Monday, 14 November, at www.veterans.nsw.gov.au