A St George Girls High School student will have the opportunity to visit historic battlefields in Greece and Israel after writing a winning essay on the Centenary of Anzac.
Eloise Cooper, of Rockdale, who is in year 11, is one of six students from throughout NSW chosen to be part of the Premier’s Anzac Ambassadors Program.
Students were invited to submit a 1000-word essay on, “Why is the Centenary of Anzac important for modern Australia and what lessons are learned from the Battle of Beersheba in 1917?”.
Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott said the six winners would “walk in the footsteps of our diggers and deepen their understanding of a legacy that has shaped Australia’s history”.
The tour, sponsored by ClubsNSW, runs from October 24 to November 5 and starts in Greece, where the students will learn how the Anzac story unfolded in Athens, Lemnos and Crete.
They will then visit Israel to commemorate the Centenary of the Charge of the Fourth Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba.
Eloise said she became interested in Anzac history while she was in primary school, and this had developed into fascination when she had the opportunity to visit Gallipoli with her family in 2013.
In her essay, Eloise says that the importance of the Anzac centenary “is unequivocal”.
“The modern population must understand the unfortunate consequence of war, human sacrifice and the context of Australia’s considerable force despite being a fledgling nation,” she writes.
“Australia’s involvement in war was a sacrifice that later held ramifications for our society for many years thereafter.
“The centenary provides Australia an opportunity to outwardly express our gratitude of what was and what is to come, as well as continually maintain the legend of Anzac for future prosperity.
“It is truly a heightened reflection of the legacy and heroic deeds which were boldly displayed not only on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula but in all of the campaigns such as those in Polygon Wood, Somme, and Fromelles.
“If mateship and comradery embodies the Anzac remembrance, then quite unconventionally, with a touch of surprise, is most epitomised in the legacy of Beersheba.”
The essay concludes: “Mateship, resilience, determination, resourcefulness, commitment, all with a touch of larrikin, is what Anzac stands for and moreover reflective in the centenary years.
“My Japanese-Australian heritage is riddled with war-involvement, and I could ask for no better opportunity than the centenary of Anzac to commemorate that.”