The excursion to the ANZAC Memorial at Hyde Park, Sydney was an overall enjoyable experience. We saw first the 4 buttress figures representing Australia’s armed forces. From there we watched a re-enactment of a young boy named ‘Frank’ and his experiences in the Light Horse Brigade during the war, which provided insight into the life of a soldier, enlistment, training and battle experience. It was so very sad to read about the way the army treated the horses at the end of the Great War, where soldiers were forced to either sell or kill their horse as they were only viewed as surplus ‘military equipment’.
The second part of the excursion was a tour of the museum, which led us through the Well of Contemplation, a large domed room with a statue of a fallen soldier. There were hundreds of thousands of stars on the dome that represented soldiers who had died in the war. Around the sides of the Well, individual battles in which the Anzacs took part were named. Next, we were shown the exhibition part of the museum where medals were showcased, as well as equipment and a remake of a battlefield in World War I, with trenches and bunkers. It was interesting to also see actual dirt from every town in NSW that had soldiers enlist in the war: Wollongong, Kiama, Keiraville and Bulli are some of the names we spotted. We also enjoyed learning about Tibby Cotter, the famous cricketer who, at the age of 15, lied about his age so he could participate in the war.
Overall, the trip was a good experience. We learnt about the individual experiences and hardships that the Australian troops faced whilst fighting in the First World War. These included the arid conditions of fighting, the animals that were killed during the War and the unique bonds the soldiers had with their horses. Another thing we learnt was that World War I was not just fought at Gallipoli or the Western Front but also in places such as Egypt, Palestine and Syria.
By Alexander Attorre, Eamonn Lewis, Zac Gringeri and Matthew Carolan