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The statue commemorates those who died in service or were killed in action during the Battle of Fromelles in World War One. The battle is believed to be the greatest loss of Australian life in a 24 hour period during World War One. 

Wollondilly Anglican College students, dignitaries and veterans gathered at a ceremony to watch the unveiling of an Anzac memorial this week. Former Prime Minister John Howard and director of the Australian War Memorial Dr Brendan Nelson joined headmaster Dr Stuart Quarmby in revealing a statue and officially opening the Anzac shelter in the playground on Monday, June 18. The ceremony paid tribute and honoured soldiers who had died in World War I.

Several speakers talked about the Battle of Fromelles, the horrors of war and the lives of particular soldiers and their families.
The statue, made by sculptors Gillie and Marc Schattner, has a special meaning to the headmaster. The soldier is a representation of Acting Sergeant William Polding Ryan, who was 20 years old when he was killed in action at the Battle of Fromelles.

He was Dr Quarmby’s grandmother’s uncle. “The statue of the soldier represents all of the diggers who fought and died in the Battle at Fromelles in a 24-hour period,” he said. The little girl in the statue is year-one student Hannah, who is the great, great, great, great niece of Mr Ryan. “[When looking at the statue] imagine every student saying ‘thank you for paying such a price’,” Dr Quarmby said. “Imagine him saying ‘thanks for finding me’.”

Dr Quarmby spoke about his relatives Corporal Alfred George Tuck and Mr Ryan who died on their first day of battle on July 19, 1916 at Fromelles. Their bodies lay in mass unmarked graves until they were identified by DNA from surviving family members.

Mr Howard, who opened the school 15 years ago, praised the college for honouring Anzac soldiers. “We remember particularly the terrible battle at Fromelles described as the worst day in Australia’s history because of the terrible losses,” he said.
Wollondilly Advertiser, June 19 2018. 

The battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916 was a bloody initiation for Australian soldiers to warfare on the Western Front. Soldiers of the newly arrived 5th Australian Division, together with the British 61st Division, were ordered to attack strongly fortified German front line positions near the Aubers Ridge in French Flanders. The attack was intended as a feint to hold German reserves from moving south to the Somme where a large Allied offensive had begun on 1 July.

The feint was a disastrous failure. Australian and British soldiers assaulted over open ground in broad daylight and under direct observation and heavy fire from the German lines. Over 5,500 Australians became casualties. Almost 2,000 of them were killed in action or died of wounds and some 400 were captured. This is believed to be the greatest loss by a single division in 24 hours during the entirety of World War One. Some consider Fromelles the most tragic event in Australia’s history.



Address:3000 Remembrance Driveway, Wollondilly Anglican College, Bargo, 2574
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.252403
Long: 150.574345
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Conflict
Artist:Gillie & Marc Schattner (sculptors)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 18th June, 2018
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au