Late last year I participated in the Premier’s Spirit of the Anzac Prize History competition and was fortunate enough to be shortlisted. After completing an activities day at the Shrine of Remembrance in early December, I was chosen as one of 22 students to participate in a study tour to Vietnam and Singapore.
The 10 day tour during the Term 1 holidays and was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I met fantastic, like-minded students, all with a passion for history. We visited war sites, graves, memorials and museums in both Vietnam and Singapore and learned heaps about the horrific Vietnam War which lasted from 1945-1975.
It was an eye-opening, confronting but fascinating tour, as we visited and walked through the battlefields and locations that Australian soldiers fought in 50 years ago. We crawled through tunnels and caves used and lived in by the Viet Cong and visited the site of the Nui Dat base where Australian soldiers lived. We saw the sites of the battle of Long Tan, Binh Ba, Coral and Balmoral and experienced the heat, dust and landscape they fought in, such as the dense forest or rubber tree plantations.
At the briefing of the tour, each student was given a topic about the Vietnam War to research on and share to the group whilst we were on the tour. After 22 short presentations, as well as insightful information and discussions from the passionate history teachers, MPs, Spirit of the Anzac Prize staff, Vietnam War Veterans and tour guides, we greatly expanded our understanding of the Vietnam War and the conflict that greatly shaped the country we were visiting.
I strongly recommend this program to any Year 9 or 10 students who enjoys History, especially the History of Australian warfare. It was a fantastic opportunity and hopefully many St Margaret’s students will be able to take part in future tours.
Year 11 student