April 26, 2020

Staff and students held a special online ANZAC Commemoration Assembly on Wednesday 29 April 2020 to mark the 105 year anniversary of the ANZAC landing and pay tribute to servicemen and women, including former Loreto Kirribilli students.

Circle Class teachers asked students from Years 7 – 12 to read prayers, tributes and the history of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli in the early hours of 25 April 1915.

At the service, organised by History Coordinator Christopher Tidyman, the school community remembered Loreto Kirribilli students who have been impacted by times of conflict. In particular, the community commemorated and celebrated Loreto Kirribilli students and staff, and those from all other Loreto schools worldwide, who have served in the armed forces, contributing to a more peaceful world.

This included ex-student Jean Nysen, nee McKenzie, (pictured) who attended Loreto Kirribilli from 1934 to 1937. In November 1942 she enlisted in the Women’s Emergency Signalling Corp (WESC) and for the next three years worked six-hour shifts in the Harman wireless room in Canberra, transmitting Morse code messages to allied ships sailing in Australian waters. In 1985 Jean was asked to design the WRANS commemorative stained glass window in the Naval Chapel on Garden Island in Sydney Harbour.

In 2015 she was recognised by the National Council of Women at the annual Jean Arnot Memorial Luncheon for her tireless work in the cause of women’s advancement in the Defence Force and elsewhere. Speaking of the contribution that women in uniform have made to the Australian Defence Force in recent years, she said, “I just feel so terribly proud of them that they can do anything.”

Loreto Kirribilli has had a long association with ANZAC Day commemorations and the ANZAC Spirit. On 18 June 2018, students went to Kirribilli House to dig soil for the Home Soil project initiated by the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park. The soil, representing men and women from Kirribilli who volunteered during World War I, was placed alongside soil collected from 1701 other ‘volunteer’ NSW locations in the newly-commissioned Hall of Service, part of the ANZAC Memorial.

Year 9 Elective History students have also previously attended the Schools and RSL Remembers ANZAC Ceremony at the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park.

Whilst the service itself was very different this year, the Loreto community continues to remember and honour the service and sacrifice of Australia’s servicemen and women in World War I and in all other wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.