‘Time Dims Not Their Sacrifice’
Over the past month, the Anzac legend has been revived in vivid documentaries on TV, colourful posters on billboards and moving spreads in magazines and newspapers. As the nation stopped to commemorate those who gave the ultimate sacrifice on Saturday 25 April, and watched the live broadcast from Anzac Cove, the promise was fulfilled that 100 years on, we did remember them.
At 8:45 AM Wednesday 29 April, it was Newington’s turn to commemorate The Fallen. With 111 former staff and students who did not return from the War, this year’s parade was going to be a special one. Beautifully crafted banners featuring Newington’s Fallen boarded the driveway and Johnson Oval, and rows of white wooden crosses with names of the 111 brave soldiers line the lawn under the Lone Pine near Sevington. Old Boys, parents and family members of Newington’s Fallen arrived at the College just as Year 7 boys began handing out sprigs of rosemary and the Newington College Cadet Corps (NCCU) took their position on Johnson Oval.
The full College including Wyvern’s older boys sat on the banks of the oval as the NCCU marched on and the Parade began. This year, we welcomed a reformed Cadet Band that has not performed in nearly 40 years, and musicians from the Pipe and Drum band from PLC Sydney at Croydon.
After the Last Post sounded and the crowd took a minutes silence to pay respect to the dead, representatives from the College Council, Old Newingtonians’ Union, each Campus, and descendants of The Fallen laid wreaths at the Memorial of the Dead.
Guests and boys were then guided towards Centenary Hall for a Commemorative Service. During the service, Rev Williams delivered a homily that drew on the mixed emotions of madness, unexpected triumph and unifying power of the Gallipoli campaign. Year 9 student Lachlan McIntyre read “To our beloved dead”, a reverie written by Leslie Holdsworth Allen in 1921 about the Memorial to the Dead in the College gardens. Year 8 student Euan McKenzie, recently returned from attending the Anzac Day Ceremony in Gallipoli, also spoke about Gallipoli. He recounted the extraordinary pilgrimage that thousands make each year, but also the decency of the Turks who enable so many Australian and New Zealanders to visit and pay their respects after they too, had suffered enormous casualties on the same battlefield.
The stage lights then dimmed for the Roll of the Fallen, before a rousing rendition of Dear Newingtonia was sung from all in the Hall.
At the conclusion of the Service, while boys and teachers resumed class, a poppy ceremony took place for descendants of The Fallen in the vestibule of the Founders Building. There resides the College’s Roll of Honour for the First World War, listing Old Newingtonians who served and those who fell. The College’s Roll of Honour acts as a memorial like so many others that exist in schools and towns across Australia to honour their service and in remembrance of their sacrifice.
Time dims not their sacrifice. Lest we forget.