ANZAC Assembly

ANZAC ASSEMBLIES AT THE SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL

For some years the School has held special assemblies to commemorate the Anzacs. The assembly is held as close to Anzac Day as the end of term 1 permits. There is now a custom to invite old boys who have served or are serving in the Australian Defence Force, plus representatives from local RSL sub branches. From the efforts made by boys and staff, this is obviously an important occasion in the school year.

The assembly starts with a ceremonial entry by the Principal, preceded by the school banner, and the invited guests. Members of the cadet corps form a guard of honour along the cloisters. The School Captain then calls for the school song to be sung, followed by the Principal giving an address focused on Anzac. Three boys give separate addresses on the theme, one of the guests and a member of the cadet corps place wreaths under the World War honour boards, and the last post is played by a member of the school band. After a minute’s silence, reveille is sounded and the Ode is said. The assembly ends with singing of the national anthem.

After the assembly, guests and the cadet corps are photographed on the school steps, then refreshments are provided, when there is the opportunity for guests to chat with the boys who have contributed at the assembly.

This year I was honoured to lay the wreath on behalf of old boy `veterans’. In fact, my first official duty as school captain was to officiate at the unveiling of the World War 2 honour boards by decorated old boys Alan Callaway, Jack Davenport and Des Duffy (the World War 1 board having been unveiled in the 1930s). At recent Anzac assemblies, 1938 school captain and honour cap recipient, Bob `Digger’ Hyam and retired commodore Ian Callaway (nephew of Alan) unveiled the Korean War and Vietnam War honour boards respectively.

The number of guests was down a bit this year, as `old soldiers gradually fade away’. It would be nice to think that, one day, there would be no more war veterans to attend. However, mankind keeps finding reasons for going to war, and there is now a new generation of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps we shall see High boys from those conflicts attending the Anzac assembly in future years.

As Kim said, he had been trying to get the Department to paint the school for 15 years, and he finally succeeded. Having looked extremely shabby for a number of years, the north face entrance now looks very smart with a few fresh coats.

I was very impressed by the cadets’ smart drill, as well as the preparation and presentation by the boys who spoke at the assembly. The boys to whom I spoke during refreshments were interested in the `old days’, and were enthusiastic about their being at the school. The High Spirit still appears to be `alive and kicking’.

Viv Littlewood (1948-52)