Page 9 - Luce 2015
P. 9

Australia  R emembers  ANZAC 1915-2015

            Elizabeth Meredith (1951) has told me of her husband’s
            wartime role in military intelligence; he was on the deck
            of the USS Missouri as the Japanese signed the instrument
            of surrender ending the Second World War.  Former tutor
            and Rhodes Scholar James Watson (2005) once told me of
            parachuting among the first Australian soldiers to enter Timor
            Leste, at a moment when it was not clear if the Indonesian
            military would respond in all-out military assault to the peace
            keeping operation.

            Australia’s role in more recent conflicts in Iraq and
            Afghanistan is contested, in the Dining Hall as in the wider   As featured in previous editions, Colonel Dr Ross Bastiaan
            community, with an understanding that it is politicians, not   AM RFD (1971) has been recognised around the world for
            soldiers, who make those decisions about when and where   his interpretative plaques which provide historical context to
            to fight in the national interest. As Australians continue to   battlefields from Gallipoli to Sandakan, helping visitors seeking
            serve both here and abroad, the Anzac connection with JCH   to understand the major sites of Australian wartime service.
            remains real. For but one example, Colonel Sue Mellotte
            (2006) combined her role as College Vice-Principal and   at Gallipoli. Alan and Rupert had no wives, no children, no
            Acting Principal for part of 2007 with her leadership as   further careers, no further influence, except in the memories
            Commanding Officer of the Melbourne University Regiment.   of the generation that survived them.  War ended the promise,
            Currently Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs,   and the future, not just for the dead Anzacs – but also for
            Sue (who was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross for   their families, who struggled to move forward, and sometimes
            leadership of the Melbourne University Regiment in 2008) is   never recovered.
            another among JCH women who have given service to their
            nation in uniform across many generations.         There is, today, a gap in our national narrative, a silence within
                                                               families where fathers and brothers returned from the war
            A final story reminds us that, as for Australia, so too our   and never spoke of the horrors of their wartime experiences.
            College is bound directly or indirectly to our wartime   There is a silence within generations touched by war, in which
            history. As mentioned elsewhere our oldest living alumna,   mothers and daughters never spoke truly of their suffering and
            Dr Margaret Henderson, was born only months after the   their loss.  While mostly removed from a frontline experience
            ANZACs stormed Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915. Margaret is   of Australia’s wars, as the women of Janet Clarke Hall did what
            among a generation of Australians who confronted a post-  they were allowed to do in the gendered constraints of their
            war landscape in which one in every five men of the First   time, the impact of war was brought fully home by its impact
            AIF had been killed, while many others were permanently   upon their families.  As Australia reflects on the Anzac legend
            damaged, both physically and psychologically, by the horrors   and legacy, Janet Clarke Hall would do well to remember
            of modern warfare. Her father won a scholarship to our   them.
            neighbour Trinity College.  He had served in and survived the
            Great War after joining up as a chaplain in the First AIF. Sadly,   Dr Damian Powell
            while Margaret’s father came home, her two uncles were not   Principal
            so lucky. They were Alan, and Rupert Henderson, both killed

            From field stations in France and hospitals in Britain, JCH women served their nation in the Great War.
            They set a standard for the generations to come.

                                                                                                  J anet Clarke Hall  9
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