We have entered all school partner coordinates so that you can now find out exactly where your partner is located in France, Belgium and Australia. You can click on these co-ordinates and go directly to the respective school pages to find out what you partner has been doing at both local and international levels to mark the centenary of WW1.
Each school page now also includes a map of their school location too!
In November 2016, the students of Atheneum Nieuwpoort visited the graves of the Australian soldiers that are buried in Nieuwpoort. Each of the students chose a grave and placed a commemorative cross with a special message at its base. As they did this they asked – ‘who are you?’ – and pledged to work with their partners at Albany State High School to research the background of their fallen soldier. We believe that this is a great way to honour those who came to defend Europe, especially from as far away as Australia.
We are delighted to welcome the following schools to the exciting ACSLP!
Edouard Branaly High School in Amiens is partnered with Ellenbrook Secondary College in Western Australia.
GO! Atheneum Avelgem Belgium is partnered with Rosebery Middle School Palmerston in the Northern Territory.
MSKA Roeselare Belgium is partnered with Comet Bay College in Secret Harbour WA. The image below is of their fantastic military museum that they have set up within the school.
On 14 November the students of Marie Curie in Arras visited the British Cemetery Tilloy-lez Mofflaines to pay tribute to Australian soldiers who fought and died in World War 1. They laid commemorative crosses inscribed by themselves and their partner school in Australia and researched the names on the graves. One student, Matteo, read an emotional message on behalf of his friends addressed to their partners in Australia. They then recited ‘In Flanders Fields’ and sang the Australian national anthem. A truly personal and heartfelt ceremony which was recorded on video.
We have just returned from visiting 23 schools in France and Belgium. These schools are amongst 40 that have partnered with Australian schools to work on commemorative projects that showcase the impact of the First World War upon their respective communities.
Of course these wartime communities were very different. Communities along the Western Front were effectively the frontline, whereas in Australia communities waited for news of their loved ones fighting 12 000 km away ‘in some foreign land’.
The students and teachers involved in all countries have done some fantastic work, uncovered stories never before told and pledged to visit war graves, place a cross beneath a headstone and ask the question – ‘Who are you?’ Then our French and Belgian friends promise to adopt a grave, find out about this soldier and share his story with us.
Nathalie Witz, our great program coordinator in France and Belgium has enjoyed two weeks in Australia visiting schools, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. The highlight of her trip was undoubtedly visiting her partner school in Heywood in the western district of Victoria. You can read all about this unique visit in this extract from the local press. Nath returns home on Wednesday. Bon voyage Nath – we will miss you.
MISSING: Macarthur’s Pat and Jack Bunworth at the town’s war memorial. Mr Bunworth holds the watch that has been in his family’s possession since World War I. Picture: Rachael Houlihan
CLOSE to 100 years ago Private Michael Bunworth’s possessions were returned to his family after he was killed in World War I.
Among the items was a pocket watch, encased in a gold cover, and inscribed on the inside with the words Gottf. Donarth, Bernsdorf.
But the watch didn’t belong to Private Bunworth.
Today, the watch, which still ticks, is in the Bunworth family’s possession. Michael’s nephew Jack Bunworth, of Macarthur is the caretaker.
But he and his wife Pat want to turn back the clock and return the watch to its rightful owner.
“Michael was killed in 1918 and the watch came home among his effects,” Mr Bunworth said.
“My father had them and he died in 1949 and I’ve had them ever since. I wound the clock up the other day and it still went. My dad told me my uncle took it off a fallen German soldier.”
Mr Bunworth said he wanted to return the watch to the family of its original owner.
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“What will become of it otherwise?,” he asked.
“I’d like them to have it back. If it was ours, we would like to get it back. It’s family history. Hopefully we can find them and they will be happy they have something.”
His wife of 61 years shares his eagerness to to reunite the watch with a German family.
“It would be lovely for the family, if it’s possible, to have the watch back,” Mrs Bunworth said.
Michael Bunworth was killed when a shell burst in the trench where he was located.
He is buried at the Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension in Bailleul, France. His brother Frank, who was also from Byaduk, was also killed in action.
The Bunworths’ story features in a new short film, Macarthur: Stories of Sacrifice, which will premiere on Thursday.
The 24-minute movie traces the town’s efforts during World War I and explores two families’ connections with soldiers from Macarthur.
The First World War was one of the most significant events in the 20th century, and residents of the small town have united to share their memories.
Last year the Macarthur Returned Services League (RSL) sub branch applied for a grant through the ANZAC Centenary Community Grants program.
The project was to assist people to explore the history of local soldiers and nurses who enlisted from Macarthur and its surrounds during 1914 to 1918.
The Bunworths have been part of the project working with residents Maryanne Martin and Terry Sim.
Ms Martin, project facilitator, worked with the Macarthur RSL sub branch and is also helping the Bunworths explore ways to try and locate the descendants of the watch.
She said in 2014 she worked on a project for the Heywood RSL about Condah’s experience during the war years.
Ms Martin’s grandmother came from Condah.
“That project went well and the Macarthur RSL wanted to do their own,” she said.
“They asked what they could do and we applied for a government grant. We also got funding from the Victorian Veterans Counsel. We applied to tell digital stories and also produce a book.”
She said the book was 80 per cent completed and the project had taken a year.
“The book still has scope for more stories to be included,” she said.
As well as the Bunworth brothers, the story of soldier Cecil Twist is also explored.
Cecil was born in 1895 and was one of the youngest to sign up for the war effort in Macarthur.
His relative Pauline Trevena investigated her family history for the project.
Ms Trevena discovered Cecil was often in trouble in the army and sometimes his pay was forfeited due to bad behaviour.
He was killed on September 18,1917 while fighting on the Western Front.
Ms Martin said Macarthur’s school also became involved in the project.
“I went to the Macarthur Primary School and the grade five and six students were researching about the war,” she said.
“We held a workshop last July about how to use Trove bad how to look up a soldiers records.”
She said Macarthur was a small but vibrant town during the war years, and every time a soldier would leave, a farewell celebration would be held.
The conscription debate divided residents and in the October 1916 referendum the community voted ‘yes’ 165 to 143.
At the following year’s referendum in December residents voted ‘no’ with 323 against and 188 in favour.
The change was consistent across Victoria.
Ms Martin said interest in the film around the town had been high.
“Tom Lowe from Polygraph Productions has done a fantastic job,” she said.
“It includes footage from the Australian War Memorial archives.”
The film will be launched on Thursday at the Macarthur Primary School from 6pm. The premiere is open to the public.
Watch the film’s trailer at vimeo.com/154009317
SOURCE: The Standard – www.standard.net.au/story/3772938/film-tells-town-story/
We warmly welcome 16 new Australian schools, 14 French and 2 Belgian schools to the ACSLP. These schools have all joined since our November 2015 trip to the Western Front.
The ACSLP continues to be enthusiastically received and students in both hemispheres are sharing some great research projects and meeting one another online and in some cases face to face.
We look forward to welcoming the students and teachers from Atheneum Pottelberg when they visit their Australian partners (Collie sHS) in Western Australia during April.
We have some great joint commemorative activities planned for 2016 so make sure you visit the website to find out more. And don’t forget to work towards achieving the following:
OUR SCHOOL Profile of your school and community – video, photo essay, Power Point etc.
OUR SOLDIER, NURSE, PERSON – Profile of a person that your students have researched that they believe made a great or typical contribution to the war effort. This is a person from your own community. This is that person’s story.
RESEARCH – How does your community tell you about WW1? What evidence of the impact of the war is there in your community – graves, avenues of honour, buildings, photos, memorials etc?
MATES – questions between teachers, students etc about the wartime experience or life today in your respective communities.