by Mrs Kate McCulloch - Head of Faculty - Humanities and Social Sciences
At a presentation ceremony at Parliament House on Tuesday 21 March, this year’s Simpson Prize recipients were announced. The welcome was given by Mr Paul Foley, Chair of the Simpson Prize Committee, who spoke with passion of the importance of knowing our history. He also commended all participants for their efforts and enthusiasm. For Tasmania the runner-up is Madeleine Pearn from St Patrick’s College and the winner is Sasha Massey, also from St Patrick’s College. This is an outstanding achievement for both girls and we are extremely proud of their commitment and effort in producing work of such a high standard. The girls were both presented with framed certificates and a medallion by the Honorable Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs. Also present was Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Austalian War Memorial and passionate supporter of the Simpson Prize.
The Simpson Prize is an annual, national competition for Year 9 and 10 students that focuses on the significance of Anzac Day and what it means to them. Sasha and Madeleine wrote responses to the question:
“The experience of Australian soldiers on the Western Front in 1916 has been largely overlooked in accounts of the First World War.” To what extent would you argue that battles such as Fromelles and Pozières should feature more prominently in accounts of the First World War?
In Sasha’s essay she recounted many stories of individuals from that time, including Private Russell Bosisto who was killed at Pozières and whose body was not recovered until 1998 when a farmer found his remains when plowing near a windmill. Sasha also mentions Lieutenant Harry Moffitt who was killed at Fromelles and whose body has never been recovered. Finally she mentions Victorian Lance Corporal Albert Jacka who was responsible for returning Australian soldiers captured by the Germans. He was awarded the Military Cross. Sasha concludes:
“On the passing of their centenary, I hope that Fromelles and Pozieres attract greater attention. We must remember what we lost on the Western Front and the sacrifice of some of the most courageous ANZACs. Private Russell Bosisto, Sister Alice Ross King, Lieutenant Harry Lowry Moffitt and Lance Corporal Albert Jacka’s stories are not to be forgotten as they taught us so much about the ANZAC spirit. The acts of heroism, the vast death toll and the battle’s significance in the formation of the ANZAC legend justify why we should be speaking of the Western Front, especially Fromelles and Pozieres, with greater significance.
Lest We Forget.
Responding to the same question, Madeleine wrote, “To say that Gallipoli is unworthy of commemoration would be an insult to the thousands of Australians who served there, however, it is important that we acknowledge the immense loss of life, suffering and bravery shown by those on the Western Front and in the Middle East, regardless of whether it was a failure or a success as each battle is significant in its own way.”
Once again, congratulations girls on this outstanding achievement.