Thousands of Cockburn and Fremantle school students have marched in the annual City of Cockburn ANZAC Youth Parade and Service since it began in 2002.
This year’s event, at 9.45am Wednesday 21 April, will be the 20th since it was founded by RSL City of Cockburn sub-branch patron Arthur J Stanton OAM, and it remains the only enduring ANZAC youth parade and service of its kind in Australia.
The first event attracted 600 students from 13 schools and this year nearly 1,567 students and teachers from 33 schools will commemorate the 106th anniversary of the Gallipoli Landing on 25 April 1915, in honour of those who gave their lives.
Mr Stanton introduced the Youth Parade and Service as an idea to Cockburn Council and local school principals in 2001, and it kicked off for the first time the following year.
The first march in 2002 was beset by heavy rains but Mr Stanton and his team, assisted by City of Cockburn staff, was able to have the service moved at the last minute to the City of Cockburn Civic Centre (now the Seniors Centre).
The parade has not missed a year, and is usually held to coincide with ANZAC Day, but due to COVID-19 in 2020, it was postponed to commemorate Remembrance Day as a one-off event.
“The plan was to have the school students march in their own ANZAC Parade, just like their forefathers did before them, and to conduct their own ANZAC Memorial Service,” Mr Stanton said.
“The students do all the readings and the Senior Student ANZAC Address, and students are invited to lay a wreath of remembrance. It has become a popular fixture for our local schools.”
City of Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the event had been strongly supported by the school community with thousands of students participating during the 20 years since its inception.
“I always enjoy the conversations with the students who are keen to tell me about their father, uncle, grandfather or great grandfather who served in conflicts and how important it was for them to remember them on ANZAC Day, in particular,” Mayor Howlett said.
“The participation of students is a timely reminder that those who have served their country are remembered in a dignified and respectful way.”
Students gather at the City of Cockburn in Coleville Crescent at 9.30am and march into Spearwood Avenue down to the RSL Memorial Park and Field of Poppies for a wreath laying ceremony.
Members of the City of Cockburn Pipe Band, Scotch College Pipe Band and Seton Catholic College choir will also participate, along with two veteran military vehicles and marching veterans.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the event. Temporary road closures will be in place.
For more information, visit the City’s website