High Notes, Vol 20 No 11, April 12 2019

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From the Principal

High Talent

Joshua Reid (10F) has been invited to attend the 2019 Thailand National U21 Championships by Volleyball Australia (12-26 April). Congratulations, Joshua! A belated congratulations to Anthony Vlatko (12F) who represented Australia at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires last year. Congratulations also to Alex Yeung (11S) who has been selected in the Australian Table Tennis team to play in the ITTF World Junior Circuit, Australian Junior Open as part of the Arafura Games to be held in Darwin in May. Congratulations to Antonio Li (11M) and Hikaru Ikegami (11S), who were selected in the NSW Pizzey Cup Team to contest the national teams’ competition for state supremacy in school tennis. Our open cricket team suffered a narrow loss to Epping Boys in the comprehensive school semi-final in Bathurst, but bounced back to win against Hunter Sports High, thereby earning a spot in the All-Schools competition. Well done!

End of Term One

As the term draws to a close, I want to express my thanks to all staff, students, parents and Old Boys who have made the opening term as productive as it was. The transition of Year 7 into the school went very smoothly. There were some fine performances by individuals and teams during the summer season. I want to thank Mr Loizou for his productive term as Acting Deputy Principal. Thank you also to our Administration Deputy, Mr Prorellis, who managed all the disruptions caused by the interior and exterior painting of the school during the term. Thank you to everyone for putting up with the inconvenience caused by the Great Hall being out of action for repairs to the floor and varnishing. We say farewell at the end of the term to Ms Anna Hitchcock (English) who has taken up a position at Cranbrook.

Anzac Day Assembly

As has occurred for the last few years, we held our Anzac Day Assembly as late as possible in the term. Despite not being able to commemorate the important national day close to the actual day, we need to have a school assembly in our calendar to preserve the tradition of remembrance for losses in wars. My speech to the assembly is reprinted below:

"Distinguished guests Mr Bill Harrigan, President Bondi-Waverley RSL Sub-Branch, Ross Whittle Treasurer, Maroubra RSL sub-Branch, Ian Devereux, Fred Kaad, Ian Mann, Mr Eric Wong- Sydney High School Foundation, guests, staff and students - welcome to our Anzac Day Assembly. This is our last opportunity before April 25th to commemorate our important national day. Anzac Day is a time for us to remember our service personnel across the generations. There are currently 3,300 Australian Defence Force personnel deployed to twelve operations overseas and within Australia, to protect our national interests.  Consistent with this time last year, our largest deployment is still to Operation Slipper, an international campaign against terrorism, to maritime security in the Middle East and to countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden.  Some 1550 personnel are based in Afghanistan and 830 in the Middle East. Our Defence forces serve us in peace and in war.  Casualties in Operation Slipper have been 41 dead and 261 wounded since October 2007. These casualties are in stark contrast to the horrific death toll on both sides during the Gallipoli campaign in1915.

"Sending men to their deaths in senseless slaughter was not the preserve of the British commanders at Anzac Cove in World War 1. On May 19, 1915, Von Sanders, the German military adviser, sent over 30,000 Turks into a night frontal assault against the ANZAC beachhead. The Turkish corps commander had argued for a concentrated attack at the Nek to maximise the impact of the assault. Such a tactic, by all accounts, would have been very successful.  He was overruled. The attack commenced on 400 Plateau at 3:20am in good moonlight, without artillery support.  The Turkish bayonet charge was repelled with ease.  Soldiers sat on the parapets and fired their weapons until the woodwork on their rifles was too hot to grip.

"The gallant Turks made two charges at 400 Plateau and five at Quinn’s Post.  They broke the line at Courtney’s Post.  Albert Jacka, 22, from Wedderburn in Victoria, with four men, attacked the Turkish in the firing trench to halt their advance.  Jacka climbed out into No Man’s Land and came up on the Turks from behind, shooting five and bayoneting two.  The remaining Turks retreated.  Private Jacka survived the war with the rank of Captain, earning his Victoria Cross for his valour in repulsing the Turks at Gallipoli and in France he was awarded a Military Cross and Bar.

"By 5am, the attack had lost its impetus and was over by mid-morning, at the cost of 3,000 dead with another 7,000 wounded.  The ANZAC forces had suffered 160 dead and 440 wounded.  The Turkish assault was described as ‘death by suicide’.  After May 19, neither side thought that a frontal assault would be likely to succeed in that terrain on the peninsula.  On May 24 a truce was negotiated to allow the Turks to bury their dead, by then in an advanced state of decomposition.

"The burying of the Turkish dead was an horrific day for men of both armies.  The ANZAC and Turks shared cigarettes and food after the ordeal of the burials.  A Turkish captain said ‘at this spectacle even the most gentle must feel savage, and the most savage must weep!’  After that day, Australians had respect and affection for the Turks they had to flight.  They had seen at first-hand what their own weapons did to human bodies.  They had much in common – suffering, enduring, finding humour, sharing comradeship… and dying.

"On Anzac Day, as we gather to commemorate the occasion, we need to remember the sacrifice made by our countrymen on that forbidding stretch of ground at Gallipoli and also to honour the soldiers who fought against us, with matching bravery, suffering, honour and resilience. I hope as many of you as possible attend a ceremony on Anzac Day to join in the contemplation of the futility and tragic waste of human beings, occasioned by employing warfare as an instrument of public policy. "
Dr K A Jaggar

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