Students delve into the ANZAC legend

SIX student recipients of the Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize (FMMP) received a valuable insight into the true effects of war when local son of Tasmanian ANZAC veteran Albert Arthur Orchard presented them with copies of his book.

The FMMP is an essay-based competition for year nine students that promotes and preserves the meaning of the ANZAC spirit in the Tasmanian community.

‘Diary of an Anzac ­ The Front Line Diaries and Stories of Albert Arthur (Bert) Orchard MC ­ Gallipoli to the Western Front 1914-1918’ was published in 2010 after Mr Orchard spent several years transcribing his father’s detailed diaries.

The book was gifted to the students in early April in preparation for their overseas study tour.

FMMP trip leader Sam Davis said it was a tradition of the FMMP for Mr Orchard to spend a day with the group to tell them his father’s story and officially present them with his book.

Ms Davis said it was a great example of a primary resource that the students could use during their own research.

“I believe the book helped the students recognize the true effects of war and how it impacts not only on the soldiers, but their families,” she said.

“Arthur also raised some points about how families were affected when the soldiers came home and how they had to learn to deal with ‘broken men’.

“It gave the students an extraordinary resource at a local level and one student commented that it helped her come to terms with the trepidation of war.”

The FMMP students recently returned home after spending two-weeks in northern France and Belgium visiting World War I battlefields on the Western Front.

Ms Davis said she personally noticed the growth within each student as the trip progressed.

“They developed a passion to get home and start telling their friends and family of their experience and educate them on what they had learnt,” she said.

“They have all formed an extremely tight bond, which I can only assume is similar to what the soldiers had all those years ago.”

Applications for the 2018 Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize are now open to all year nine students across Tasmania, as well as their high school teachers.

For more information, visit www.education.tas.gov.au/Students/schools-colleges/Pages/Awards—Scholarships.aspx#frankmacdonald.

Caption: Clockwise from left, Andrea Gerard (historian), Arthur Orchard (author), Rosa Piscioneri (Leighland Christian School), Jaidyn Gluskie (St Virgil’s College), Emily Curak (Sacred Heart College), Alex Dick (RSL Tasmania), Lachlan Moore (Launceston Church Grammar School), Sam Davis (FMMP trip leader), Leonie Hiscutt MHA, Dr Nicholas Clements (UTAS) and Tom Watson (Launceston Church Grammar School). Absent: Harshika Herath (Ogilvie High School).