ANZAC Overnight Vigil 2016
On Sunday 24 April 2016 we were both privilleged to take part in the ANZAC overnight vigil at the Ellenbrook District Open Space.
Twenty Swan Valley Anglican Community School Police Rangers, along with Scouts and Girl Guides from the community all came together for a night long guard of honour from 6pm ANZAC Eve to 6am ANZAC Morning.
Prior to the group raising the flags at sunset, a number of the Police Rangers were formally issued their new rankings and we were both made Acting Sergeant’s in Charge of the Flags. We have been raising and lowering the school flags (sometimes four or five flags) everyday since early 2015. So we didn’t go hungry during the night we had chicken and chips for dinner.
Wearing our formal uniforms we all had several shifts throughout the night guarding the flags. There was a lot of noise and excitement early in the evening, but this changed as the night wore on and everyone started getting tired. We both had shifts in the early hours of ANZAC morning and while standing guard we noticed how quiet and lonely it was standing there waiting for the next honour guard to take our place. We had to keep awake, alert and on guard in the dark, cold and wet conditions, similar to our soldiers who had to keep awake, alert and on watch so that their area of the battle was secured against any threat. We stood there, still and silent in honour of those ANZAC’s who fought and soldiers today who continue to keep Australia safe and free.
As dawn approached we had a quick breakfast and all headed down to the ANZAC memorial. It was still very dark, cold and the air was still, but it looked like the rain had moved on. We took our seats for the start of the ANZAC service, many of us hadn’t slept and Mr Harvey had to wake one of the Police Rangers who had fallen asleep just before the start of the service.
It was great to see the community of Ellenbrook and surrounds support this new venue as attendance was again in the thousands. We both felt very honoured that we were chosen to lay the wreath on behalf of the Police Rangers during the service. The service included a flyover by an Airforce jet. The rain held off until near the end of the service when the umbrellas came out for about five minutes.
At the end of the service the community were invited to share in a gunfire breakfast. This was our second year participating in the overnight vigil and we look forward to being able to participate in many more in the years ahead.
We would like to thank our leaders; Mr Harvey, Mr Clarke and Mrs Gordon for looking after us during the all night vigil and ensuring we were warm, fed and that we kept to our roster. Again like last year it was a great experience.
After returning to School at the start of Term 2 the Police Rangers and Police Joey’s participated in the School ANZAC service on Friday 29 April, raising and lowering the flags to half mast, and then raising them again during the Reveille. It was great to have Dylan Carpenter as our bugler for the service, it was better than a CD recording.
We will remember them.
Thomas & Harrison Clarke (Year 7)
Acting Sergeant’s, SVACS Police Rangers
As a school we have been honouring the many service men and women who have sacrificed so much to give us the freedom we now take for granted.
The Year 6 students represented the school at the Combined School’s ANZAC Service on Wednesday 6 April. The Junior School Student Council Representatives Xavier Bull and Lucy Porter laid a wreath on behalf of the school community. In addition, Taylor Racey and Louise Van Der Vyver were invited to read poems they had writing in Extension writing about the meaning of ANZAC.
On Sunday, 24 April the Police Cadets participated in the night vigil at Ellenbrook Open Space. They guarded the flags overnight and then participated in the wreath laying ceremony at the dawn service on ANZAC Day. Taylor Racey and Louise Van Der Vyver were again asked to recite their poems. It was a moving service and one in which our students' commitment and integrity shone through.
The School marked ANZAC Day with a special service presented by the School leaders. Bronty Fraser sang a version of 'And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda', whilst Lucy Porter and Abigail Davies read their ANZAC poems. At the end of the service the official party laid the wreaths at the base of the flagpoles in where a separate ceremony. Our thanks go to Dylan Carpenter who visited the school to play the Last Post and Reveille, adding to the emotion of the occasion.
The ANZAC poems can be found under News & Events.
Mrs Suzanne Stewart
Associate Principal Junior School / Dean of Curriculum