Anzac Day animals

Anzac Day animals

11 April 2022

Events and initiatives In the news

Newborough Primary School commemorated Anzac Day on the last day of term in a different way this year by looking at the role of animals in wartime.

For the past few years Newborough Primary School has taken a different approach to commemorating Anzac Day, by having different themes for their students to research and discuss.

Principal of Newborough Primary School John Worthy said the school had previously recognised women in war, and Aboriginal and Islander service people.

Homing pigeons were released, carrying messages to thank animals in war.

“It’s important that we acknowledge different aspects of Anzac and try to link our themes to experiences and expertise we have in our school community,” he said.

The guest speakers are often grandparents, student’s relatives who are currently serving, or local community members.

“The animals in war theme came from a parent who was in the Army and now has an assistant dog.”

Each class was given an animal to learn about and then write a short thank you note for their service. Instead of reading them to the whole school, they were sent off by pigeon during an Anzac ceremony on the last day of term.

“Richard Barnes, who is a retired teacher, has homing pigeons and has been involved for years. I floated the idea with him and he keenly wanted to get involved.”

Newborough Primary School students watching the flock of pigeons fly home.

Each class had its own dedicated pigeon and the day before the ceremony the class’s messages were attached to the pigeon’s leg.

“It was quite spectacular to see a flock of pigeons take off,” said Mr Worthy.

“This will stick in the student’s minds more than just talking about it.”

Just before the end of the service, students sat on the classroom verandas to watch the release of the pigeons as they set off to fly back to Mr Barnes’s home.