• Anzac Day - Simpson Prize 2014

    Saturday 26 April 2014 by Stuart Baines.

    Lack of sleep and the enormity of the day yesterday has prevented the blog going up earlier. It is always a unique experience when taking a bunch of teenagers to an event like this. Each year they critically examine their experience and all bring their own perspective. Commemoration is powerful but it also resonates in different ways for people. I am always fascinated to see how our Simpson Prize winners react, and even more so the …

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  • From Troy to Helles - Simpson Prize 2014

    Wednesday 23 April 2014 by Stuart Baines.

    After a long day looking at the campaign, today was an opportunity for us to look further into Ottoman history and look beyond the Australian perspective. It is important to remember that the Gallipoli campaign was not an Australian campaign and that the ANZAC commitment was just one part of a broader allied force. The British and French commitment particularly was far greater in number than that of the Australians and New Zealanders. I …

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  • Walking the Frontline - Simpson Prize 2014

    Tuesday 22 April 2014 by Stuart Baines.

    Today is always one of biggest days of the trip, it is the day where we walk the line and see the central area from Lone Pine to the Nek. The purpose of the day is to try and help the students understand what it was like, how these Anzac's experienced this brutal campaign. It can be tough physically and tough emotionally and so I was not surprised at how drained we all were on our return. We had a particularly poignant moment at the end …

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  • To queue or not to queue - Simpson Prize 2014

    Monday 21 April 2014 by Stuart Baines.

    Today has been a day of contrasts. This morning we walked down one of the major boulevards in the old city, down towards the Hippodrome and beside the Blue Mosque and Haigia Sophia. A beautiful pink and orange sky accompanied us as well as our usual pack of local dogs. With the exception of our little band the streets were virtually empty, the only consistent presence was the Turkish street sweepers that we came across every 100 or so …

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  • Our first day at Anzac Cove - Simpson Prize 2014

    Monday 21 April 2014 by Stuart Baines.

    Today is always my favourite day of the trip. It is the day that I get to be part of the students' and teachers' first taste of the Gallipoli peninsula. It always reminds me of my first steps here and the enormous and profound effect it had on me. Until that time I had focused my studies on the later action on the Western Front. I never understood why a sideshow campaign with comparatively small losses could be so etched into our …

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  • Underground in Istanbul - Simpson Prize 2014

    Saturday 19 April 2014 by Stuart Baines.

    Day two of this experience and we were lucky enough to visit some of the most amazing sites of Istanbul. One in particular, Chora Church Museum gives a particularly interesting window into the layered history of this city. The more time we spend looking into this city and its treasures the more I hope we can start painting a picture of the Turkish people for the students. These are a people with a much longer and in some respects, more …

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  • Images of Gallipoli and Turkey - Simpson Prize 2013

    Tuesday 7 May 2013 by Stuart Baines.

    It has been a week since our return and after having some time to get over the jet lag I thought it timely to reflect on the trip that was. This opportunity is so unique for the students and I hope that they were able to leave the peninsula with a deeper understanding of what ANZAC means, that they are better able to separate the lives and roles of those men from the legend that encompasses them. It is only by understanding, challenging…

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  • The return to Istanbul - Simpson Prize 2013

    Saturday 27 April 2013 by Stuart Baines.

    Today was a sad day for us all. Leaving the Gallipoli peninsula and leaving behind all those boys from all nations is difficult. We as a group have paid our respects and honoured the men from all sides. It is hard in such a short time, to give a full perspective of the campaign but I am sure that the students and teachers alike are leaving with a new sense of what Gallipoli means and what it was all about. As there battlefield guide I …

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  • ANZAC Day, a day to Remember - Simpson Prize 2013

    Friday 26 April 2013 by Stuart Baines. 3 comments

    Today was the day, the culmination of our trip and a chance for us to commemorate the lives, the service and the sacrifice of the Australians we have been learning about for the past days. It also gives the students an oppurtunity to contribute to this national commemoration. The dawn was mild again this year and only needed the sleeping bag for comfort not warmth. It is a long day but rewarding and especially for the students and an …

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  • A day to go - Simpson Prize 2013

    Friday 26 April 2013 by Stuart Baines.

    Today was an opportunity for us to have a shorter day in preparation for the ANZAC day activities. We spent the day looking at other parts of the peninsula, making our way down to Suvla and spending more time talking about the Turkish experience. Looking at the experience of the Turkish and the conditions that the Turkish faced is an important way to provide a balance to the tour. It is always a challenge on this day because do security …

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