Cobram Secondary College unveils commemorative garden in memory of Cobram’s fallen soldiers

Students at Cobram Secondary College marked Anzac Day this year by holding a special ceremony at their school, where they welcomed students from all local schools along with community leaders, Melbourne Legacy and Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) representatives.

Other guests on the day included retired Air Marshal Leo Davies, the families of the school's fallen soldiers, Tim McCurdy MP, and the mayor of Moira Shire Council.

To keep the memories of Cobram's fallen soldiers alive, the school's four sports houses are named in honour of Corporal George John Parker Goodman, Gunner Robert Ian Jordan, Flight Sergeant Harold Shadforth and Private Ken Leslie Rose — all former students of the school.

Over the years, the meaning of the house names had been lost among the students.

To support student leadership development and re-establish the school historical link to the fallen soldiers, school captains were tasked with increasing awareness of the significance of the house names.

In partnership with the RSL, the students commenced a project to establish a commemorative garden and arrange an Anzac ceremony.

Cobram Secondary College
Anzac ceremony at Cobram Secondary College

Designed, planted and maintained by the school's agriculture class, the commemorative garden featured a replacement Lone Pine tree to replace a previous Lone Pine which had stood in front of the school until it was damaged and removed in 2020.

The replacement Long Pine, sourced through John Bitcon from Melbourne Legacy, is a descendent of the original Lone Pine from Gallipoli. The garden was also designed to include inclusive flags, a commemoration plaque and four 'spirit of the Anzac' grevilleas — one for each fallen serviceman. 

A special unveiling

The school's Anzac ceremony was held on Friday 23 April and the garden was unveiled.

In addition to unveiling the commemorative garden and planting the replacement Lone Pine, the ceremony also featured a 10-member bagpipe band, the planting of grevillea by families of the four fallen soldiers and two-plane flyovers — which included a special on-board passenger, 95-year-old former Liberator bomber airman Bruce Neal.

Cobram ANZAC day
Rob Brown O.A.M, President of Cobram/Barooga RSL and Charlie Schulz, Year 8 student.

Principal Kimberley Tempest said the ceremony and garden project has had a great impact on the students and they now know the fallen soldiers as people, not just names on a board.

'They demonstrate an increased knowledge of the origins of the houses and the importance of commemorating Anzac Day,' Mrs Tempest said.

Retired Air Marshal Leo Davies was very impressed by the ceremony and the work done by the students.  

'The true essence of why we remember those who have and are serving this nation was palpable during the morning,' Mr Davies said.

'The students could not fake the way they spoke about our veterans and what they chose to do for our country — this is what creates a true community cultural change.'