The 70th RSL and Schools Remember ANZAC Commemoration and Inaugural Exhibition

Discover the powerful stories behind student artworks 

On 3 April 2023, students from various school sectors gathered at Sydney’s Anzac Memorial for a special student-led commemoration and launch of an art exhibition that honours the service and sacrifice of Australians who have served in all wars and conflicts.  

To mark the 70th Anniversary of this service, RSL NSW, the Department of Education, Catholic Schools NSW, and the Association of Independent Schools NSW launched an art competition to educate and inspire school students across NSW to learn about Australia’s military history and understand the significance of commemorations.

Ahead of the launch of the exhibition, hundreds of school students paused to remember the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in the Australian Defence Force and Allied Forces at the RSL and Schools Remember ANZAC Commemoration. The student-led commemoration service was also attended by Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC and The Hon. Prue Car, MP, Minister for Education and Early Learning. 

RSL NSW President Ray James said the art competition was a great way for school students to reflect and learn about Australia’s military history by tapping into their imagination and creativity. “RSL NSW takes great pride in preserving the memory of all those who have served their country and I commend the students and art teachers in schools across NSW for the hard work and passion that has gone into such high-quality commemorative artworks,” Mr James said. 

Running from 3 to 30 April 2023, the exhibition is on display at the Auditorium, Anzac Memorial. It showcases nine finalists’ artwork in the 2023 art competition, with entries ranging from year 4 to year 9 students across NSW.  

PRIMARY SCHOOL WINNER: Lest we Forget by Cambridge Park Public School Year 5 student Savannah-Lee Presbury. 

Savannah-Lee said it was important for younger generations to appreciate the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect future generations. 

“I am very fortunate to have my great-grandfather still around and able to share stories and knowledge about his time in the war. I feel that all future generations should learn the importance of what the ANZACs have done for us.  

Poppies are a big symbol for the ANZACs which is why I chose to include them, a poppy for my Pop Pop.”  

SECONDARY SCHOOL WINNER: Our Unsung Heroes by Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Year 9 student Charli Biram. 

Charli’s artwork pays tribute to the remarkable contributions of Australian nurses who served on the front during WWII. Her own mother, who worked tirelessly as a nurse during the pandemic, also inspired her piece. 

“The image pays tribute to Olga Marcella Anderson, a Queensland-born nurse who enlisted in the Australian Military Forces on 1 December 1941 and served until 7 January 1947. My mother is a nurse and seeing her work during the pandemic made me reflect on the work and service of our medical professionals and unsung heros.” 

Entries for the 2024 competition are now open. For more information, visit www.rslnsw.org.au/artcompetition. 

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