A service was held in the Chapel on Sunday 26 April, to commemorate the centenary of Gallipoli. Thirty former residents fell in the Great war, and another 202 returned from active service. One of the officers at Gallipoli was Captain William Lempriere Winter Cooke. He had noticed that small oak trees with prickly leaves grew along the ridges and valleys of the Gallipoli peninsula. He collected acorns from these trees and sent them back home to his property ‘Murndal’ near Hamilton in Western Victoria. One of them was propagated and grew into a very substantial tree that is still standing there. Acorns from that tree have been grown in other places in Victoria as a memory of Gallipoli. Friends of the Winter Cookes, Michael and Alexandra Kelso have grown some seedlings from the original tree and donated one to the College. A great-grandson of Captain Winter Cooke is a resident of the College at present. Will Winter Cooke shared some personal words of reflection in Chapel about his great grandfather.
‘The commemoration of ANZAC day has become increasingly confronting, realising that I am nearly 22 years old. The same tender age my great grandfather Lieutenant William Lempriere Winter Cooke arrived at Gallipoli 100 years ago. A young country boy, innocent and oblivious to the hell he’d encounter over two world wars.
He grew up on the family farm, shooting hares and foxes in the paddocks, riding horses everyday and spending his weekends playing his beloved cricket. He attended boarding school from a young age where he lived and breathed with his best mates. These boys, like thousands of their generation faced the decision and responded to the empire’s call to arms.
He was in the prime of his life, fit and healthy, like all of us gathered here today. Unfortunately many of his close friends and family were killed in action. He remained scarred mentally and physically for the rest of his life and like thousands was part of a broken generation where many struggled to readjust to their day-to-day lives at home.
He like many veterans didn’t speak of his war experiences, however his key message to my grandfather was simple, have humility. Cherish the simple beauties of life, be thankful for the people around you, the experiences you share and this very college. I hope all of you take these messages onboard and remind yourself that no matter how mundane you’re feeling, whatever work is making you stressed, to always put these matters in perspective and be eternally thankful to all that have fallen in defending our way of life.’
Lest we forget

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