Bec O’Brien reports:
THE South Australian Governor officially unveiled a unique Anzac-inspired mosaic wall at Virginia Primary School last month while attending a special and poignant ceremony.
Honouring two former students and one local who all died in WW1, the one-of-a-kind mosaic memorial was constructed in time for Anzac centenary celebrations following a Federal grant of $5000, as part of the government’s Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program.
Governor Hieu Van Le unveiled the memorial on Thursday April 9 in front of a large crowd of school and community members as well as invited guests including Member for Taylor, Leesa Vlahos, ABC radio presenter and journalist, Peter Goers, Two Wells RSL president, Tony Flaherty, residents from a local aged-care facility and members of the Royal Australian Regiment.
Situated in the school’s Peace Garden near the front entrance, the wall is an ever-lasting monument to all Australian soldiers who have given their lives in war.
In particular, the memorial pays tribute to former students John James Sheedy, and Albert Hatcher as well as Albert’s older brother, Howard Hatcher, who did not attend the school.
The wall was created under the guidance of Gawler-based artist, Kate Alforth, with all students participating in hands-on sessions last year to construct it.
Speaking at the unveiling, Governor Le highlighted the school’s efforts in teaching its students about the past, especially WW1, saying future generations were the guardians of peace.
Governor Le also acknowledged the school’s recognition of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“This charter states that every child has the right to thrive and participate in their community and this world,” he said.
“For this to happen we need to have a peaceful world.
“It is most important that current and future generations understand the sacrifices of past and present soldiers.
“You (students) are the promoters of peace.”
VPS principal, Ilia Tsoutouras said the ceremony was a special day for the school and built on the school’s strong history and cultural program.
“Students through our cultural studies program have a solid understanding of the history of WW1,” Mr Tsoutouras said.
“They have focused on local soldiers, some not that much older than our senior students.
“They have also been involved in personal studies as a way and means of relating to what it must have been like.
“Some of the most powerful messages that we have taken from the program and will take from today, are the ones that we must never take for granted.
“We must always be grateful and mindful for the sacrifices made by so many men and women and the ongoing sacrifices made by many today that allow us to live in a peaceful community.”
Two Wells RSL president, Tony Flaherty, also spoke at the ceremony, as did local resident, Colleen Sheedy-Palethorpe, who has a family connection to former student and WW1 soldier, John James Sheedy.