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Mary MacKillop College ANZAC Garden

11.05.17

On Wednesday 10 May our ANZAC Garden was officially dedicated by Mr. Rob Manton from the ANZAC Day Committee. The garden is a beautiful gathering place of remembrance at the College. 

Below are the reflections from Year 12 students Natalie and Vanessa, shared during the ceremony.

Natalie: "As part of the Community Service topic in Stage 1 Religion, our 2016 class wrote a proposal to create a garden on school property which would not only cover the community service criteria but also linked with Pope Francis' second Encyclical, Laudato Si' about caring for the environment. We discovered a government initiative to create memorials commemorating the Anzac Centenary and decided to use this for our proposal, which not only links to our History curriculum, but would allow us to continue to raise community awareness of the Anzac Centenary. Our garden would be used not only by the college but by the wider school community such as local feeder primary schools, the Sisters of St Joseph and residents from around our area.

It was decided that the best place for the memorial garden would be at the front of the college, where the school and wider community could easily access the area. This could be a place for visitors to sit, enjoy the memorial, reflect on our nation’s military heritage or even pray. We then researched some significant symbols relating to the ANZACs and their importance and decided to incorporate them into our memorial garden. We wanted a paved area that could be used to walk around and sit on and decided to make the pathways and sitting area represent the 7 rays from The Rising Sun emblem. This was proudly worn by soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Forces in both World Wars. It is an integral part of the digger tradition and the distinctive shape of the badge, worn on their slouch hat, identifies the spirit of the ANZACs."

Vanessa: "We also investigated what flora would suit the memorial garden and discovered the Anzac Day Rosemary plant. Rosemary is traditionally associated and worn on Anzac Day. It is symbolic for Australians as it is found growing wild on the Gallipoli peninsula. We have decided to make our memorial garden interactive where different classes from each year levels could add something symbolic every year. For example, one class could add a silhouette of an ANZAC nurse and soldier representing their dedication, care and sacrifice.  Another class could add small wooden white crosses with names representing the lives of any Australians killed in military operations. These names could be a relative or friend of members of our college and wider community.

Even though Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the 1st World War, the meaning of Anzac Day today includes the remembrance of all Australians killed in military operations throughout our country’s history. As this is our final year at the college, we will be making a mural depicting the Poppy flower, made by each students’ handprint. The poppy represents the only flower that would grow over the fields where the soldiers fought. Our Anzac Memorial Garden will not only commemorate the service and sacrifice that was made by men and women during the 1st World War, but will recognize all South Australian men and women who have served in war, defence and peacekeeping operations over the last 100 years."