Reflecting on ANZAC Day

Headmaster's Blog

When I think of ANZAC Day, I cannot help but think of my late father, John, who served in the British Army in WWII as a Gordon Highlander.

My pride and recollection of Dad are heightened knowing he was one of the thousands of soldiers who landed at Normandy during the D-Day invasion on 6 June 1944. I can recall his accounts of this time, including being wounded on 13 June, his 22nd birthday.

While this led to pain and hospitalisation, followed by a long recovery period, he acknowledged that, unlike fellow soldiers, he returned home to live his life, which is why I can write this reflection as his only child.

A photo of Dad in Syracuse, dressed in army khaki shorts and surrounded by numerous service medals, sits proudly on the wall of my family's entry hall.

Whether factual or subliminally, this may be why I applied to become the seventh Headmaster of Scotch College in September 2010, a few months after Dad's passing on July 4 2010. In many ways, I wonder if this position was, in his way, a parting spiritual gift to me.


This year, Scotch College is holding an ANZAC Day Dawn Service. It will be a community-based commemoration that sits between the individual driveway vigils held during COVID-19 lockdowns and the much larger Dawn Service at King's Park.

Our Dawn Service is open to local residents, Old Scotch Collegians, local RSL club members, staff, students and parents. We are gathering to reflect on the past and connect with the local community while expressing our respect and gratitude for our armed services, past and present.

Join us on the symbolic Memorial Ground. Opened in 1925, our students partly built the Ground on weekends to commemorate Old Scotch Collegians who had fought and died in World War I. By the war's end, 475 OSCs had enlisted to fight, over half of our alumni at the time.

On ANZAC Day, we honour all Australian and New Zealand service men and women and hope that you'll join us on what promises to be a special morning.

Dr Alec O'Connell

Register for our ANZAC Day Dawn Service