YEAR 8 St Norbert College student Isabella Hulm has been selected to represent WA in an extraordinary trip to Darwin and Singapore for the 2020 Premier’s Anzac Student Tour.
The only student from a WA Catholic school awarded the honour, Isabella will be a State ambassador at the commemorations for the 78th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin and the Fall of Singapore.
Students from Years 8 to 11 from 27 secondary schools entered a competition to attend the Premier’s Anzac Tour next April. Students wrote submissions on the impact of the Anzac tradition on modern Australia by exploring a selected Western Australian individual, community or group and their significance. Isabella wrote about Albany’s Maxton brothers, WWII pilots in the RAAF.
“I was inspired to write about the Maxton brothers after my Mum told me a bit about her friend’s grandfather – Murray Maxton,” Isabella said. “I did some brief research and was instantly drawn to their story. I contacted his grandson to seek permission to write about his grandfather, and was overwhelmed with a supportive response and lots of research material.
“I am a proud fifth generation Western Australian with a family war service history and a strong affiliation to Albany, the hometown of my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. I have serving family members from both my maternal and paternal sides of my family. The details of their war history is currently largely unknown but my Nanna and I have commenced the process to unlock one of my great-grandfather’s war service records. He returned from World War One with life-long war injuries.
“I have always had a keen interest in history, as it is one of my favourite topics to learn about. My father has always been interested in war history and has a huge book collection which I have had access to from a young age. I have a strong appreciation for the Anzac spirit and traditions and the impact that those who served before us have had on modern-day Australia.
“This will be a life-changing experience for me and I will make the most of the opportunity to learn as much as I can while on the tour. I am extremely proud and honoured to be selected as a youth ambassador for both St Norbert College and our state of Western Australia. I am especially looking forward to travelling to Singapore and commemorating Anzac day celebrations at the Changi War Memorial, and the 78th anniversary of the Darwin bombings in Darwin.”
It is the first time in the tour’s 17-year history that students will visit Darwin and as part of the 10-day journey. The 10 student finalists will visit significant sites including WWII oil storage tunnels, the Causeway, Labrador Park, Fort Siloso, Johore Battery, Fort Canning and Changi Beach.
Students will commemorate Anzac Day by attending the dawn service at Kranji War Memorial in northern Singapore.
The Premier’s Anzac Tour is an annual competition open to all Western Australian students in Years 8 to 11, who are selected following a written submission and interviews.
Next year brings the number of student participants to 212.
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said: “The Premier’s Anzac Tour allows young people to be steeped in history while providing them with an opportunity to commemorate the service and sacrifice of Australian servicemen and women.
“The 10 students will strengthen their knowledge of Australian’s military history with the tour group visiting Darwin for the first time, before heading overseas to Singapore.
“I’m sure the students will come back with lasting memories and life-changing experiences that they will share with their peers, teachers and parents for years to come.”