Centenary of ANZAC scholarship to leave legacy for the young

The memory of the ANZACs who served in the First World War is being kept alive with university scholarships.

Photo: iStockphoto

The Illawarra Centenary of ANZAC Scholarships, worth $5,000 a year for three years from 2015, will be offered to first year students who are direct descendants of Australian or New Zealand WWI veterans or those who have served in the Australian Defence Force, including the Reserves.

The Illawarra Centenary of ANZAC Committee announced the scholarships last year to mark the 100th anniversary of the declaration of World War I at a memorial for the 111 men from Balgownie who fought during the war.

The inaugural scholarships were awarded to Tayla Hogno, of Barrack Heights, and Jai Thompson, of Stanwell Park in the lead up to the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings that not only marked the start of an ill-fated campaign costing 8700 ANZAC and 87,000 Turkish lives but that also reshaped a young Australian nation.

ANZAC scholarships
Inaugural Centenary of ANZAC Scholarship recipient Tayla Hogno and Wollongong RSL sub-branch president Peter Poulton. Photo: Bernie Fischer  

Both are first year students at the UOW. Tayla is enrolled in a nursing degree and Jai is studying a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in lands and heritage management.

The two annual scholarships will leave a lasting legacy through the young people of the region who would otherwise have difficulty covering the cost of higher education.

Tayla, 18, told the Illawarra Mercury she was “shocked” to hear she had been awarded a scholarship.

"I'm extremely grateful and it can help with my HECS debt and my textbooks so that's really good," she told the paper.

Her father Denis was a member of 4RAR and in 1965, was part of Australia's commitment to the Malaysia-Indonesian confrontation.

ANZAC scholarships Jai Thompson

Jai's (picture above) great-grandfather, Sidney J Lalor, served in both world wars, while his other great-grandfather, Sydney Thomas Thompson, served with the 12th Light Horse Regiment.

"It's going to go a long way towards obviously my fees but also textbooks [and] travelling. It means I can come out the other side of university with a smaller debt," he told the Illawarra Mercury.

"It was a massive honour to be a part of the Illawarra Centenary of the Anzacs because they fought over 100 years ago to protect our country and they deserve to be recognised," Jai said.

UOW staff and students are marking the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings through ANZAC Day events and legacy initiatives in tribute to past and present serving members of the Australian Defence Force, particularly those who have lost their lives.