First guided education tour undertaken at memorial
THE sound of soldiers' marching footsteps echoed through the trees as 50 high school students walked through Maryborough's Queens Park to learn about their freedom-fighting forefathers.
The sound, part of the Gallipoli to Armistice memorial's interactive exhibit, created an eerie symbolism as the youngest Australian solider to die on the famed battle front was the same age as the Riverside Christian College Year 9 students.
The excursion was the first of about 10 schools who plan to visit the newly opened memorial as part of the Queensland's education curriculum focusing on WWI.
Greeted by army veteran and former CEO of Maryborough RSL Captain Jason Scanes, students perspectives were challenged as he regaled the tale of digger James Martin who died of typhoid aged 14 years and 9 months at Gallipoli.
Martin was one of 20 Australian soldiers under the age of 18 never to return from the battle.
"Hopefully you will learn about our proud heritage and the Anzacs' experience," Captain Scanes said.
"We learn about these because it's important to recognise our freedom was hard fought and hard won."
The tour was guided by volunteers from the Maryborough Military Museum.
Volunteer Jim Martin said after walking through the memorial in groups of about 20, students would then walk to the museum.
"There are seven different stations in the museum for them to visit in smaller groups," he said.
"Hopefully this is the first of more to come as the word spreads about the memorial and more schools use it as an excursion to further their studies.