Aboriginal Veterans Visit

Four members of Aboriginal Veterans SA visited Central Yorke School on Thursday May 5 to present an educational program to Year 6-8 students, exploring the cultural issues in serving country, promoting recognition of those that served in defence of our country and raising awareness of their service and sacrifice.

Presenting the program were Frank Clarke, a Vietnam Veteran; Bill Hignett OAM, a former principal and conscript who served in Vietnam; Simon Kelly, a teacher advisor with the Catholic Education Office and Mark Waters, A member of the AVSA.

The program began with the viewing of the documentary “For Love of Country” which explained how Aboriginal men and women from South Australia signed up or were conscripted to serve their country in the Armed services.

Students then visited learning stations with hands-on activities identifying World War 1 memorabilia, learning the significance of various hats worn by the armed forces, dressing in combat clothing and examining medals awarded to veterans.

Before the break for recess, Veteran Frank Clarke, whose country is the lands around Bordertown and Dimboola, spoke to the students about his experience in Australia’s major battle in Vietnam, the Battle of Long Tan.

During morning tea, the school received a parcel of books previously donated at the Pinaroo Commemorative Service to honour and commemorate military service of Aboriginal veterans. Book donations at the Commemorative Service at Point Pearce on May 4 will be likewise donated to another community.

On returning students completed the remaining learning stations and regrouped for a final plenary session and question time.

The well structured and informative program was well received by a respectful and attentive audience and the hands-on activities and opportunities for questions and discussion were much appreciated.