The Premier’s ANZAC Spirit Award is a competition run by the Department of Education and Child Development (DECD). It offers students from Years 9 and 10 the opportunity to research any servicemen and women from World War One to uncover some of the untold stories of bravery and sacrifice. St Peter’s Girls has a rich tradition of success in the competition, and in 2017, Year 10 student Hannah B is one of the successful recipients of the Premier’s ANZAC Spirit Award.

At Assembly on Monday 31 July, Hannah formally received her award from DECD representative Mr Malcolm McInerney who spoke glowingly of Hannah’s research and the significance of the award. Consequently, Hannah will join 12 other South Australian students on a tour of Vietnam in October to research Australia’s involvement in the conflict in south-east Asia from 1966-1972. The School was also recognised with a special plaque for our participation in the competition. Hannah has some remarkable insights into what motivated her to research her chosen subject:

I’ve always had an interest in history and how the world came to be the way it is today. Yet it isn’t only the facts that I enjoy learning about, but the fascinating stories created through time.

Entering the Premier’s ANZAC Spirit Prize set me the challenge of researching the personal story of a South Australian who served in the First World War. After coming across a newspaper article published in 1915, written by Sister Evelyn Claire Trestrail, a nurse who served in Antwerp, Belgium in 1914, I decided I would like to learn more about her story. Evelyn’s article recounted the story of the nurses and doctors serving in their hospital unit in Antwerp as part of the ‘Women’s Imperial Service League’.

After further research, I began to understand the challenging, yet fulfilling months Evelyn experienced in Antwerp, treating the constant stream of wounded men, all the while surrounded by danger. I was able to gain an insight into her thought and emotions, and was inspired by her positive, fun outlook despite fearful circumstances – one of the many ways Evelyn displayed the ANZAC spirit.

Finally, I was able to understand the fearful events of 7 October, when the hospital in Antwerp came under the direct line of German fire, and the gripping story of the nurses’ work to save their patients, and escape from the burning city.

Gregor Dingwall (Head of Humanities) and Hannah B (Year 10 student)