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Author: Sarah Leisemann
Author Role: Chaplain


Students at CHAC have commemorated ANZAC Day in a very special way this year. Services were held for the Secondary and Primary schools and were ably led by our College Captains, Primary Leaders and Spiritual Leaders. We were especially blessed this year to welcome back to CHAC, three past students who are currently serving in the Australian Defence Forces: Ryan Tipping (Navy), Mitchell Rutter (Army) and Harry O’Connor (Air Force). Each of these young men shared their inspirational thoughts about the significance of ANZAC Day for them. We are so grateful that they were able to take time out of their busy schedule to join us. I hope you enjoy these excerpts from their speeches.

Ryan Tipping

While I have always considered ANZAC Day a significant day in our nation’s history, it wasn’t really until I played my first home game of rugby for the Australian Defence Force Academy that I truly reflected on what it meant to be in our military. At ADFA, as a tradition before we run on our home field we, as a club, gather around what we refer to as ‘the rock’. On this rock there are two names. Michael Fussell and John McNutt. Both of these men, like me, attended the Defence Academy, and like me, played rugby for the same team on the same ground. However, both of these men made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and were tragically killed in action while on operations in the Middle East. This highlighted for me the significance of being a member of the ADF, as well as just how much those before me have given for our country. For me, ANZAC Day is about being the best person I can be, by striving to keep the spirit of the ANZAC alive through honouring the values of courage, mateship and sacrifice that our nation was built on.

Mitchell Rutter

We have a unique and proud history in our Army of doing the impossible, winning battles no one thought we could win, the whole time with the classic Australian humour never too far away. On ANZAC Day, we remember the sacrifices these great men and women have made on our behalf. They did what they did for their mates, they did it for their country, and the men and women who are deployed today are still risking everything for their mates, their country. So when I think of ANZAC Day, I think of all the great men and women on the Honour Roll at the Australian War Memorial, and the countless others who returned bearing physical and mental scars from their service to our nation. I think of my mate, Borgey, whose big brother was just two years ahead of me at ADFA, and who deployed to Iraq one week ago. On this day, I also think forward to the wars yet to come, the wars my generation of diggers will fight, and I hope that we continue to uphold the brotherhood of courage, mateship and sacrifice that has always been at the heart of our Army.

Harry O’Connor

Last year I participated in my first ANZAC Day march, where I was thanked for my service by strangers. Let me tell you, it’s a weird feeling. At that time, having only been in the ADF for four months, it made me ask myself “What am I being thanked for? What have I done?” To which the answer is, nothing. Nothing compared with those names on the rock mentioned by Ryan. Nothing compared to the brothers serving in Iraq, mentioned by Mitch. So then, the question is no longer “What have I done?” but becomes “What can I do?” What can I do to uphold the legend of those service men and women? Those Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations all over the globe. What can I do every day, to uphold their courage, commitment, mateship and sacrifice that they gave to us? This is what it means to me, and what makes me proud to serve on ANZAC Day.

ANZAC Day March and Service, Bulimba

CHAC students also participated in the march and service at the Bulimba Memorial park yesterday. A large and respectful group of students were proud to represent our College at the service and give honour to all who have served in defence of our nation. Our College Captains and Primary Leaders assisted by leading the parade and laying wreaths at the memorial. CHAC students were also part of the Army Cadet corp who participated in the march and formed the catafalque party around the War Memorial. The students participating as Army Cadets were Ethan Gough and Jack Brittain (Year 12) and Oliver Gough, Hugh Smith, Daniel O’Gorman and Seth Manson (Year 9). We thank all those parents who also joined us and supported their students taking part.

Giving back on ANZAC Day

Two of our trumpet students had the great honour of returning to their Primary schools on Wednesday to play the Last Post at the ANZAC services there. Yael Niggemann Begun and Dominik Beveridge were proud to give back to their respective Primary schools by offering this act of service. We congratulate these students for generously sharing their talents.