ERC Updates

Department of Veteran Affairs History Competition

This year was the 50-year anniversary of the end of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War. In order to commemorate this, we decided to create something for the ANZAC Day School’s Award. We were tasked with creating something to commemorate the war and involve our school community.

We decided the best way to commemorate the 50th anniversary was to try to educate our fellow classmates about the importance of the war, and our brave veteran’s experiences. In order to do this we decided to create an informative slideshow that also included part of an interview with veteran Mr Ian Birch. He provided valuable insight into his experiences while serving in Vietnam and helped consolidate our understanding. He was also kind enough to loan us some books from his collection that were great for research. Included with this were also some testimonies from students and teachers, who shared what they thought about the war, and their opinions on it. Lastly, to make the whole presentation more engaging, we added many group discussions and personal reflection activities along the way.

As mentioned before, on May 22nd, our group had the opportunity to speak with Ian Birch, a Vietnam veteran, and gained valuable insights into his experiences. We asked him a range of questions, delving into various aspects of his involvement in the war. We inquired about how he perceived the war, aiming to understand his perspective. We asked about his age at the onset of the war and his initial reactions upon learning about it. We also inquired whether he was conscripted or voluntarily enlisted, and if he had friends who shared similar experiences.

Furthermore, we were curious to know about his emotions surrounding conscription. We asked how he felt when faced with the prospect of being drafted into the war. We were also interested in hearing about his basic training and the emotions he experienced during that period. In addition to speaking with Ian Birch, we sought the opinions of multiple students and teachers on the Vietnam War. We asked them why they believed the war was fought and how they would personally feel if conscripted to fight in Vietnam. Furthermore, we asked for their perspectives on whether the Vietnam War was worth fighting. By gathering these diverse perspectives and experiences, we aimed to gain a deeper understanding of the Vietnam War from multiple angles.

We did this because we felt that the young Australians of the 1960s were treated poorly and their treatment upon their return was even more disgraceful. We now believe that all veterans should be celebrated for their sacrifice and commitment. As a cohort, we felt that we should all know about the Anzacs in Vietnam and how the war played out. Our group was shocked to hear about the treatment and discrimination of the soldiers and citizens of Vietnam. We believe that the 50th anniversary of the return of the Australian soldiers from Vietnam should be known and celebrated by all Australians.

This was amazing for not only us, but the school community to learn more about the Vietnam Anzacs, and gain a new perspective on the war. If you would like to know more about the challenge, visit this link:

Big thank you to Michael Da Silva, Harrison Thelan, William Hall, and Ali Hadi for putting in this amazing effort. We will be entering again next year. If you want to see some of our hard work you can by clicking Link.

Mrs Lothian
Head of Humanities