Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand. While it broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served“, ANZAC Day originated as a way to honor the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (the ANZACs) who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. It is observed on the 25thof April each year, and is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Pitcairn Islands, and Tonga.
ANZAC Day has great significance to Parkerville Children and Youth Care; all but one of the orphaned boys brought to Australia by the Sisters in 1901 enlisted, and six of them never returned. Sister Jane had a special connection with the orphaned boys – two of the six that died even appointed her as beneficiary of their wills. In memory of the fallen boys, a special stained glass window was created and installed in the Parkerville chapel – “…a special brick chancel was built with its centre piece a large circular window of clear glass surrounded by six stained glass panels depicting six angelic children, representing the six fallen soldiers.” (Taken from Parkerville: Caring for Children, Caring for their Future by Kevin Casey, p. 66.)
We continue to show our gratitude to the fallen with the six petals represented in the Parkerville Children and Youth Care logo.
Two brass plaques were also installed in the chapel; one dedicated to Sister Jane, the other dedicated to the Parkerville boys who fell in the war. They are listed as such:
524 Private Herbert Hallett
10th Light Horse A.I.F.
Killed bayonet charge, Gallipoli
6th October 1915
Aged 24 years
1789 Driver Lionel Churchill
8th Battery Artillery A.I.F.
Killed Shrapnel Valley, Gallipoli
Aged 21 years
3403 Private Edgar Bentley, M.M D.C.M
16th Battalion, 48th Australian infantry
Killed in France
22nd December 1917
Aged 25 years
3942 Private James Lloyd
Killed in action 22nd September 1917
Aged 20 years
128 Lance Corporal John Lea
Died of wounds in Belgium, 22nd November 1917
Aged 25 years
557 Private Fred Ruffle
Killed 30th September 1918
Aged 20 years
However, the soldiers did not go unacknowledged. Edgar Bentley won the Military Medal for gallantry at Messines, and Lionel Churchill’s legacy lived on through a letter from the Front by a colleague:
“Churchill was a favourite in the Battery and well he deserved to be, he was absolutely fearless and cheerful as a lark and the most unselfish fellow. If these are the sorts of boys the Sisters bring up in Parkerville, they need to be proud of their work, anyhow they may feel proud of Gunner Churchill.”
To find out more about the history of Parkerville Children and Youth Care click here.