Remembrance Day 2014

The school gathered in the grounds in front of the memorial building on Remembrance Day to commemorate this significant event. 2015 School Captains Mikayla Smith and Andrew King read the following address to the students and staff to bring attention to the significance of war in our history.

This minute of silence is observed worldwide each year at eleven o'clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This time marks the moment when World War I came to an end in 1918. This day has since come to commemorate the efforts of our military personnel in all conflicts.

We are standing here this morning as members of the Dimboola Memorial Secondary College community. Our school is unique as the only purpose built memorial school in Victoria. As such, it is important for us to understand the reasons behind our school, and the significance of war in our history.

Even before the end of the war, communities were planning memorials. Many towns have memorial halls, statues and avenues of honour. The Dimboola community raised funds for their memorial, and it was decided in 1921 that it would take the form of a high school, a unique First World War memorial. The memorial building we are standing in front of was built during the early 1920s, and ninety years ago next month, in December 1924, this building was officially opened as the Dimboola Soldiers Memorial Higher Elementary School.

School Captains Mikayla Smith and Andrew King, pictured with Acting Principal Anne Gawith

There are a number of other memorials here as well. The Matron Paschke Memorial Sundial at the top of the front oval is in memory of Matron Dorothy Paschke. Matron Paschke was born here in Dimboola in 1905 and attended our school before becoming a nurse in the Australian Army Nursing Service. Paschke was in Singapore when it was occupied by the Japanese in 1942, and died at sea during the evacuation on 14th February 1942. She was posthumously awarded the Florence Nightingale medal to honour her bravery shown in the midst of war.

As well as the memorial building and the Matron Paschke sundial, we have memorials which highlight the number of local residents who left for the war. The front driveway of our school is the Dimboola community avenue of honour. There are plaques around the drive which commemorate every local serviceman who was killed during war.

The honour rolls behind us here show the names of Dimboola and district residents who enlisted in the armed forces and fought, many of whom died. A number of these men were not much older than some students here today when they left for the war.

We encourage all students to take an opportunity to read the names on the memorial behind me to recognise a number of local surnames. As well as this, next time you walk around the driveway - have a look at the plaques beneath the trees. To really put our soldiers into perspective, they were local farmers, shop owners and workers. When the call for war came in 1914, many volunteered to serve.

Honour Rolls on the Soldiers Memorial Building

2014 marks one hundred years since the start of World War I. One hundred years ago today, the first Australian troops were eleven days into their journey from Albany en route to Egypt for training, before attending battles such as Gallipoli, and others on the western front in Europe, to fight against an unknown enemy.

Next April, we will commemorate one hundred years since the Anzac troops first landed at Gallipoli. From this point forward, Australians were recognised for their willingness to 'get the job done', and this came to define our nation. Over the next four years we will see the centenary of a number of significant events during the war. I encourage you to take an interest in these in order to understand the Australia we live in today.

Above - a display by Charles Rees in the administration office commemorating the Centenary of World War I.


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