Tuesday 24 April 2012 by Stuart Baines. 5 comments
Battlefield Tours, Simpson Prize 2012

As we do each year, we have a day that becomes devoted to the rehearsal for the ceremonial activity on the 25th. It is a chance for our friends at DVA to put the kids through their paces and of course an opportunity for journalists to speak to the kids. So far the studnets have been interviewed for all the major netwroks and it is great to see that people are showing and interest in the perspective of our youth in regard to the campaign and the significance today.

The Simpson prize students play an important part in the ceremonies at Lone Pine and in the lead up to the dawn service. Hopefully you might spy them on TV. Of course in and around this we are still touring the site and exploring that experience we have come here to understand. One of the most important parts of the trip is the cruise along the Agean in order to see the cove from the water. It gives great context for us all and allows the students to get a sense of what it would have been like slowly cruising into this unknown beach in a foreign land. The sheer enormity of what those first ANZAC troops had to do was not lost on the students and as we got closer to the beach the size of the hills and ridges in front of them was plain to see. Of course they were not getting of that easily, I made them walk another ridge in the NZ section in the afternoon. It is all, of course, about following in their footsteps and experiencing as the ANZACS did.


Today, the eighth day of our Turkish experience, was considered to be an easier day compared to those previously endured. 

After leaving the Kum at 8:30 we travelled to  GabaTepe wharf where we boarded a ferry in which we cruised along the Aegean coastline. The purpose of this cruise was to retrace the route taken by the original ANZACs on the morning of the 25th of april 1915, and  gain an understanding of the location of various attractions. Stu expertly highlighted the location of sights such as Beach Cemetery, the Sphinx and Lone Pine. Whilst aboard the boat, we all had the chance to introduce ourselves to a brisbane youth choir who are performing at the both Anzac commemorative services. Overall, such an experience enhanced the entire group's contextual understanding regarding  the landing as we saw first hand the extreme terrain that faced the diggers as they arrived upon the peninsula.

With the conclusion of our break (lunch back at the Kum), we drove to Lone Pine where we spent the next two hours at the Lone Pine service rehearsal. Phyllie, Maddy, Sam, Eleanor and Jess proceeded to rehearse their respective roles they will undertake on Anzac day. Next on the itinerary was a short visit to the New Zealand memorial at Chunuk Bair, followed by a hike to the bottom of Rhododendron Ridge, the track frequently used by New Zealand troops during the campaign. Although the track consisted mostly of a downhill hike, there were sections where we were required to negotiate the rocky, untrustworthy trail uphill.  Let me tell you from experience...don't trust any of the trail steps (seriously, the first log step I stepped on collapsed beneath me). Towards the end of the trail, as morale was weakening and legs were tiring, Jess ingeniously began to play invigorating music on her I-phone. This certainly ensured that all of us made it to the end of the walk injury free!

On the return trip to the Kum hotel, we had to make an emergency stop at a roadside toilet in order to please Phyllie (do you all get my drift?) We all agreed that it was the fastest we had ever witnessed her run as she leapt off the bus yelling "de-bus, de-bus, de-bus"!

At 7:30 Andrew, Emily, Jo, Liz, Ozgur and I travelled to the Anzac commemorative sight in order to rehearse for our reflective speech which we will read on Anzac eve. Currently, we are gathered around a table in the Kum hotel bar/cafe cosy and warm, chatting excitedly and playing cards...gule-gule!

Taylor Joppich 


Jude Smyth

It sounds like a truley amazing trip, would love to be there with you all. Have a wonderful time (if you can put it that way) tomorrow, I'm sure it will be an experience you will remember always. I know all your families will be watching and thinking of you.

Robert lee

Congratulations to all Simpson Prize winners undertaking an experience that will live with you forever. You ae walking in the footsteps of great men , so too continue their journey you should aim to lead others to greatness. Enjoy each and every experience, big or small and remember those whose shadows you are walking amongst.

Tricia Lonergan

I'm following your blog with great interest. I'm learning far more about Turkey and the heritage we share with this country from reading your entries. It is the eve of ANZAC day in Australia as I write this and think of you over there and the experiences you will remember for the rest of your lives. Tomorrow (Australian time) will be full of emotions for you all. I look forward to reading your entries tomorrow. Very proud of you Taylor Joppich and 'Simpsonites'. Tricia Lonergan

Hayley Chamberlain

Sounds like you are all having an absolute blast :) the lead up to Anzac day on the peninsular is really intense I found but it is absolutely amazing :) I am absolutely jealous of you all :) good luck for Anzac day :) and emily just FYI you were talked about quiet a lot at the schools memorial assembly today :p again have an absolutely amazing and awesome time , which I am sure you all will . Congratulation to all this year winners :)

Dathan Marsh

Hope you had a great time everyone I am also very jealous of you all