Students off on Anzac experience

FOUR Northern Tasmanian students will spend the next fortnight visiting European battlefields as recipients of the Frank MacDonald Memorial Prize.

Jessica Wall, of Scotch Oakburn College, Isobel Cameron, of Queechy High School, and James Thompson and Zoe Deka, of Devonport High School, will be joined by Hobart students Jasmine Brennan, of Rose Bay High School, and Julia Walter, of Calvin Christian School, on the study trip.

They are being accompanied by two teachers, RSL Tasmania president Robert Dick, Derwent MLC Craig Farrell and two Department of Premier and Cabinet representatives.

Parliamentary secretary Guy Barnett farewelled the Northern group at the Launceston Airport yesterday.

The group will visit both France and Belgium, spend time at different Western Front battlefields including visiting the memorial site for soldiers they researched, and attend the Anzac Day dawn service at the Australian National Memorial at Villers Bretonneux, France.

Jessica, 15, said she was looking forward to visiting the sites she had read about and finding the memorial to Albert Arthur ``Bert'' Orchard, the soldier she had researched as part of her prize entry.

``I think it's going to be a great learning experience and something I can tell the wider community about on my return,'' she said.

``In some ways, I expect it to be overwhelming.''

James, 15, produced a video for his entry.

He said the study tour would be a great experience to learn more about what occurred during the war.

Military Medal recipient Frank MacDonald was Tasmania's last World War I survivor and died in 2003, aged 107.

He served in the Australian Imperial Force, 40th infantry battalion, repairing signal lines between battalion headquarters and trenches.

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