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The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

24 August 2016

Students honour Australian Vietnam veterans

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan, today congratulated the winners of the Honouring Australian Vietnam Veterans secondary schools’ competition.

Mr Tehan said the competition encouraged students in years 9 to 11 to investigate the contribution of Australians who served in the Vietnam War and reflect on the importance of commemorating their service and sacrifice.

Mr Tehan said the competition aimed at improving the education and awareness in younger Australians about our military history, specifically the Vietnam War.

“Entries were received from across Australia, with the winners submitting a variety of projects including essays, poems, websites, artworks and other multimedia,” Mr Tehan said.

“The entries reflected different aspects of the Vietnam War, including veterans’ stories, Indigenous service, family heritage, nursing, as well as the role of dogs and the relationship with their handlers.”

“Some 60,000 servicemen and women were deployed overseas during the Vietnam War, and the students who entered this competition have learned about the bravery, resourcefulness and determination of our Vietnam veterans, as well as the difficulties many endured when they returned from service.”

The winners visited cultural institutions and attended the national commemorative service marking Vietnam Veterans Day and the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan as part of a three-day visit to Canberra.

Media Contacts:

Minister Tehan’s office – Byron Vale 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Australian Capital Territory Electorate Entry
Radford College Fenner * The winning student produced an original and refreshing creative response, a watercolour artwork, which explored the trust and loyalty between dogs and their handlers during the Vietnam War. The student used several techniques to demonstrate the emotional attachment between dogs and their handlers.
Canberra High School Fenner * The winning student produced an evocative poem on the service of 5RAR and war photographer, Mike Coleridge. The judges were impressed with the high quality of the student’s research.
Total ACT: 2

* Only electorate with two winners

New South Wales Electorate Entry
Normanhurst Boys High School Berowra The winning student wrote an essay and produced a YouTube clip for his entry in the competition which looked at dog handlers and their dogs and the role of engineers during the Vietnam War. The judges remarked that the entry was of good quality.
Woolooware High School Cook The winning student created an excellent artwork on nurse, Barbara Black and dog handler, Peter Haran and his dog . The student’s work was carefully crafted and melded visual images and text.
Keira High School Cunningham The winning student submitted an artwork and rationale of the role of medical teams and dog handlers during the Vietnam War. The judges were impressed with the attractiveness of the watercolours, and their muted simplicity.
Karabar High School Eden-Monaro The winning student created a website that looked at the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam and the Royal Australian Regiment. The content was well-expressed and visually appealing.
Hillston Central School Farrer The winning student produced an outstanding artwork and original poem on the Royal Australian Air Force experience in Operation Babylift. The works are about both pilots and nurses.
Bonnyrigg High School Fowler The winning student created a PowerPoint presentation with a voiceover focussing on the Royal Australian Regiment and Royal Australian Engineers. The judges were impressed with the quality of the student’s research, expression, and the historical accuracy of his entry.
St Patrick’s College, Sutherland Hughes The winning student produced a YouTube clip illustrating a number of service roles and contribution by the Royal Australian Regiment and the Royal Australian Nursing Corps. The student’s entry was well-worded and historically accurate.
Hindle Home Education Hume The winning student wrote an outstanding essay on the role of Indigenous and non-Indigenous servicemen during the Vietnam War. The student’s essay discussion was maturely handled.
St Patrick’s College, Campbelltown Macarthur The winning student wrote an excellent essay that considered the role of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam and the 6th Royal Australian Regiment. The student drew on diverse resources and demonstrated careful analysis and construction in her essay.
Bossley Park High School McMahon The winning student wrote a well-worded essay on the experiences of the Royal Australian Regiment and the Royal Australian Air Force in the Vietnam War. The student included the physical and psychological effects of service in her essay.
Scone Grammar School New England The winning student produced a video exploring the roles of the Royal Australian Air Force and wartime correspondents during the Vietnam War. The judges commented that some of the footage included was captivating.
Alstonville High School Page The winning student’s essay focussed on Barry Petersen and the Royal Australian Regiment in Vietnam. The judges found the essay was well-expressed and consistent in voice and conviction.
Coonabarabran High School Parkes The winning student wrote a very good essay in terms of structure and in the way that the synthesised historical content was put into the student’s own words. The student focussed on the 9th Royal Australian Regiment and the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps in the essay.
Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta The winning student submitted a video on Vance Drummond, and the Royal Australian Air Force. The student demonstrated skill in synthesising the research of others.
Hunter Valley Grammar School Patterson The winning student submitted an artwork and accompanying rationale as her entry to the competition. The student makes some good points in her rationale.
Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School Richmond The winning student wrote an essay about the stories of David Thompson and Linton Allen. The student made valid and interesting points in her essay.
Bowral High School Whitlam The student submitted a drawing of dog handler Bob Pearson and his dog Julian. The student gave an excellent overview of their experiences in her rationale.
Total NSW: 17
Queensland Electorate Entry
West Moreton Anglican College Blair The winning student’s entry was an essay where she researched the experiences of Warrant Officer Rayene Simpson and Captain Barry Petersen. The judges were impressed with the student’s concise research and fluent expression.
Annandale Christian College Dawson The winning student produced an artwork about the roles of nurses and the Royal Australian Air Force in providing medical care. The student’s image of a woman awaiting news of her loved one was evocative.
Albany Creek State High School Dickson The winning student researched the stories of two Indigenous servicemen, Lance Corporal John Walker and Private Frank Clarke. The student accessed a wide array of sources to help her present her research.
Pimpama State Secondary College Fadden The winning student researched the roles of various Royal Australian Air Force squadrons in the Vietnam War and provided interesting information in a PowerPoint presentation and supporting video clips.
Coolum State High School Fisher The winning student produced a video about the Royal Australian Navy and Special Air Service Regiment. The film clips he used were overlaid with his commentary and aptly used.
Malanda State High School Kennedy The winning student researched the role of her grandfather, and role of dogs during the Vietnam War. Her research was interwoven and of sound quality.
Dalby Christian College Maranoa The winning student’s entry was a video presentation on Australia’s role in the Vietnam War including the 1st Australian Task Force and the Special Air Service Regiment. The judges were impressed with the student’s choice of images, lyrics and poetry which reinforced his interpretation.
Palm Beach Currumbin State High School McPherson The winning student produced a well-researched, informative and interesting multimedia response with a riveting introduction of images from the dedication of the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial in Canberra.
Westside Christian College Oxley The winning student wrote an interesting and articulate essay about medical personnel in Vietnam. The judges were particularly impressed with the student’s research process and his sophisticated grasp of structure.
Urangan State High School Wide Bay In her essay, the winning student included stories of a nurse and a veteran of Long Tan. She also discussed the significance of 18 August and the importance of commemoration. The student accessed a wide range of sources to support her analysis.
Boonah State High School Wright The winning student wrote a poem and additional textual information on two veterans, Warrant Officer Class 2 Stephen Reid, and Lieutenant Philip Cooper. The judges were impressed with the student’s thoughtful and sensitive responses to the competition questions.
Total QLD: 11
South Australia Electorate Entry
Wilderness School Adelaide The winning student wrote an essay on the roles of Kevin Wheatley of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam and Colleen Thurgar, a nurse with 8 Field Ambulance during the Vietnam War. She gave good overviews of service and specific incidents in her essay.
Faith Lutheran College Barker The winning student wrote an essay about the 1st Armoured Personnel Carrier Squadron and the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam. The student gave considerable detail in his essay.
Streaky Bay Area School Grey The winning student wrote an essay on the service of Nurse Nell Espie and the Special Air Service Regiment. The judges were impressed with the engaging quality of the student’s essay.
Torrens Valley Christian School Makin The winning student wrote an essay and letter as his entry to the competition. He wrote about the Royal Australian Air Force and 35 Squadron and gave specific examples of service. The student demonstrated creativity in his letter from a serviceman.
Victor Harbor High School Mayo The winning student produced a video focussing on the service of two National Servicemen: Bob Walter of 2 Royal Australian Regiment, and Malcolm Dunn, of 17 Construction Squadron Royal Australian Engineers. In the course of producing her video, the student developed historical literacy and analytical skills, and had the opportunity to conduct background research.
Loreto College Sturt The winning student wrote an essay on engineers and dog handlers in the Vietnam War. The judges remarked on her use of quotes, inclusion of factual information and personal anecdotes in her essay.
Total SA: 6
Tasmania Electorate Entry
St Patrick’s College Bass The winning student wrote an essay on the role of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam and Forward Air Controllers during the Vietnam War. The judges were impressed with the quality of the student’s writing in his essay.
Reece High School Braddon The winning student created a Wix presentation which looked at the service of Kevin Raymond who served in the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and Dal Abbott who served with the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. The student’s Wix presentation was visually appealing and easy to navigate and she put forward a clear conclusion.
Deloraine High School Lyons The winning student wrote an essay discussing the role of Kevin Wheatley, of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, and Neil Davis, the photojournalist. The student’s essay was well-written, balanced and comprehensive.
Total TAS: 3
Victoria Electorate Entry
Ballarat High School Ballarat The winning student wrote an essay on the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam and Australian Navy Clearance Diving Team Three. Her essay was well-written and she provided clear descriptors of roles and experiences, comparing and contrasting both.
Mazenod College Bruce The winning student produced a video, “When Duty Calls” on 6 Royal Australian Regiment and the Special Air Service Regiment. The student produced a comprehensive response to the competition questions.
Lilydale High School Casey The winning student produced a video as her entry to the competition. It included an interview with John Ockwell, a signaller/driver in the Armoured Corps. Her video also included research she conducted on a nurse, Barbara Black of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps. The judges were impressed with the comprehensive set of questions the student posed to John Ockwell in her interview.
Mount Waverley Secondary College Chisholm The winning student wrote an essay about the service of Australian nurses and the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Her essay was interesting and informative.
Sacred Heart College, Geelong Corio The winning student wrote an essay about Mike Coleridge, a photographer with the Royal Australian Army Education, and medical staff who served in the Vietnam War. She gave a detailed account of Mike Coleridge’s life and service.
Viewbank College Jagajaga The winning student wrote on essay on the ‘tunnel rats’ and David Wright of the 1st Field Squadron Royal Australian Engineers. He provided an engaging essay in terms of biographical information and a descriptor of David Wright’s role based on a personal interview.
Kyabram P-12 College Murray The winning student submitted an artwork and rationale on the role of dog handlers and 9 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force during the Vietnam War. The artwork of a newspaper collage included wartime articles from different part of the world which expressed how people felt about wars at the time.
Total VIC: 7
Western Australia Electorate Entry
John Calvin Christian College Canning The winning student produced two poems, exploring the roles of the Royal Australian Air Force and nurses during the Vietnam War. The judges were impressed with the way in which she captured the dilemmas faced by these two groups, and the subtlety of her reflections.
Girrahwheen Senior High School Cowan The winning student wrote an essay on the role of the Royal Australian Air Force and dogs and tracker teams during the Vietnam War. His essay was well-written and logically sequenced.
Presbyterian Ladies College Curtin The winning student produced a video about two servicemen, Major Brenton Mowbray and Private Peter Hansen, and the role of memorials in the community. The judges were impressed with the student’s excellent commentary.
Geraldton Grammar School Durack The winning student submitted an excellent essay with an overview of the Vietnam War and focus on the experiences of two Australian nurses, Colleen Thurgar and Patricia Ferguson. The judges were impressed with the way the student interwove her opinions and research throughout the essay.
La Salle College Hasluck The winning student submitted a MP4 video, using time lapse drawings overlaid with a commentary exploring the roles of the 9th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment and 9 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force during the Vietnam War. The judges were impressed with the talent and perception of the student’s presentation.
St Mark’s Anglican Community School Moore The winning student produced several art works depicting the life of Major Harry Smith who served in the Battle of Long Tan. The judges were impressed with the student’s use of colour and her interesting rationale.
Irene McCormack Catholic College Pearce The winning student’s entry was a well-written essay about the Special Air Service Regiment and the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam. The student gave a balanced view and interesting insights in her essay.
Carine Senior High School Stirling The winning student wrote a well-crafted essay about the Royal Australian Air Force and Special Air Service Regiment. The judges were impressed with the insight and perception in the student’s essay.
Aquinas College Swan The winning student wrote an essay on war photographers. The student had an original perspective, placing the Vietnam War in the television era.
Rossmoyne Senior High School Tangney The winning student created a website which looked at the roles of Keith Payne and the 2nd Defence and Employment Platoon. The judges were impressed with the simplicity and effectiveness of the presentation, and how she discussed why Australian Vietnam Veterans should be honoured and remembered.
Total WA: 10

 

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.