Anzac tour homecoming for young Queenslanders

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has welcomed home the 2019 Premier’s Anzac Prize student winners after their 16-day journey in Europe.

Ms Palaszczuk joined Education Minister Grace Grace at Parliament this morning to welcome back the eight Queensland high school students and their two teacher chaperones who arrived in Brisbane last night.

“I’d like to congratulate the group for representing Queensland so well on the tour and for being wonderful ambassadors for our state,” the Premier said.

“The prize, now in its sixth year, provides a wonderful opportunity for young Queenslanders to understand our Anzac history and to truly appreciate why it is such a strong part of our culture.

“It was great to hear the students’ experiences in London, France and Belgium where they experienced the Anzac tradition firsthand and commemorated fallen soldiers.

“In a first for the Prize, this year’s tour group visited the Naours Caves in northern France, to view the recently discovered, largest collection of World War I graffiti, including signatures of around 2,000 Australian soldiers.

“They also took part in the fourth ever ‘Cobbers Night’ in France, a social evening hosted by Fleurbaix inhabitants assisted by the Rotary Club of Armentières and the municipality of Fleurbaix.

“I’m sure the students will never forget this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Ms Grace said the successful students in years 10-12 represented schools in Brisbane, Gympie, the Sunshine Coast, Scenic Rim and North Queensland.

“The Premier’s Anzac Prize ensure we don’t forget the sacrifices made in the past and that we remember to continue applying some very important lessons learned from history,” Ms Grace said.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the group’s efforts in raising funds for the Mates4Mates organisation, which supports wounded, injured or ill current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel and their families.”

Pimlico State High School Year 11 student Ella Magner said memories of the tour would stay with her forever.

“Cobbers Night was an amazing experience full of talking, dancing and laughter. It was so interesting listening to all the locals, and talking with them about our trip,” Miss Magner said.

“We learned a traditional partner dance, and everyone got involved. After what almost felt like one hour later, but was in fact four, we had to say goodbye to our newfound friends.”

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