The Premiere

The Official Party, led by Headmaster John Weeks and Hon Dr Brendan Nelson, enter the Great Hall.
The Official Party, led by Headmaster Mr John Weeks and VIP Guest Speaker, the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson, enter the Great Hall. The veterans and Thistle Productions follow behind them.

Knox Grammar and the OKGA commemorated the Centenary of Gallipoli by launching the documentary miniseries, For School and Country. A special service was held in the Great Hall on 5 May 2015, with Years 6 and 8-12 in attendance, and other special guests.

Nine of the twelve profiled veterans attended the day with their families. The veterans and official party marched in through the Knox Cadet Unit’s Honour Guard to the tunes of the Pipe Band and Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

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After a welcome by the Headmaster, the VIP Guest Speaker Hon Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial, took the stage. Dr Nelson talked extensively about the qualities and values of Australian soldiers in the two World Wars, and how these qualities are embodied in the stories of the twelve veterans profiled in For School and Country.

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A 45-minute special launch edition of the five-part miniseries was played. As Dr Nelson later remarked, you could ‘hear the proverbial pin drop’. All in the Great Hall gave their utmost respect to the veterans and were completely enraptured by the presentation, listening to their heroic, breathtaking stories.

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The veterans and Official Party left the assembly to the tune of ‘Band of Brothers’, performed by the Knox Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

A luncheon for the veterans and special guests was held in the Thistle Room after the assembly. Headmaster John Weeks shared some thoughts before introducing the project leaders of For School and Country, Angus Hordern OKG80 and Alex Lloyd OKG09. Angus talked on the origins of the project and Alex about the incredible journey of producing For School and Country.

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The makers of For School and Country, the Thistle Productions team, went around the tables and presented copies of the DVD to individuals and school departments during the lunch.

Thistle Productions with John Weeks and Dr Brendan Nelson
Thistle Productions with Headmaster John Weeks and Hon Dr Brendan Nelson.

Dr Nelson ended the function with some closing remarks of reflection, praising For School and Country and Knox Grammar for their remarkable commemorative efforts of Australia’s war heroes.

The Veterans of 'For School and Country' - L-R (top): Arthur Pardey, Phil Stevenson, Lysle Roberts, Barney Greatrex; L-R (bottom): Richard Miles, Don Caldwell Smith, John Hore-Lacy, Eric Thew
The veterans of ‘For School and Country’ – L-R (top): Arthur Pardey, Phil Stevenson, Lysle Roberts, Barney Greatrex; L-R (bottom): Richard Miles, Don Caldwell Smith, John Hore-Lacy, Eric Thew.

The Thistle Productions team, after six years of work, was thrilled with the great reception For School and Country received, and proud to be of service to our Old Knox Grammarians.

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L-R (top): Angus Hordern, Alex Lloyd, Charlie Wannan, Arthur Pardey, Phil Stevenson, Lysle Roberts, Barney Greatrex, Rohan Viswalingam, Thomas Kaye; L-R (bottom): Tony Osman, Richard Miles, Don Caldwell Smith, John Hore-Lacy, Eric Thew.
Thistle Productions: Thomas Kaye OKG10, Rohan Viswalingam OKG11, Alex Lloyd OKG09 and Angus Hordern OKG80
Thistle Productions: Thomas Kaye OKG10, Rohan Viswalingam OKG11, Alex Lloyd OKG09 and Angus Hordern OKG80.

(Photos of the premiere all shared courtesy of Knox Grammar School)

From the schoolyard to the battlefield, a dozen student soldiers put down their books, and went to war…