Indi and Alida from Eaglehawk Secondary College also interviewed Sarah Kellam, when she was placing flowers on her great-grandparents’ grave in the Eaglehawk cemetery…
Sarah said that there are lots of journals and notes from William John Symons and that you can access information on the Trove website. “The only personal things left are a portait and quotations handed through the family. The portrait is hanging in a gallery.”
Sarah has one sibling, her sister is home looking after their mother as old age has taken effect on her. Sarah has one daughter and three grandchildren – 2 girls and 1 boy. Sarah lives in Sussex, south of London,
On her Australian visit she has been busy in Melbourne looking for William’s family home which she found in Brunswick.
She also visited the Shrine of Remembrance. She will also visit the war memorial in Canberra.
In world war two there was a defence medal awarded to older men who defended the country, Sarah is taking her grandfathers medal to the war memorial.
It’s Sarah’s second visit to Australia she came over 20 years ago. She joked that her favourite part of trip was going to bed as she is so tired with the travel but says it’s been a wonderful trip. Her favourite thing about her visit is speaking with ex soldiers, it makes her feel partly Australian.
In Bendigo she is going to the RSL and Art Gallery. The RSL have named a sports bar in Havilah rd after William.
She told us about other Lone Pines like the one at Eaglehawk Primary – there was a similar one in a park in Melbourne with a bronze plaque and one at Brunswick school also.
Sarah was looking forward to going to war memorial but most of her trip is based around Bendigo. She is looking forward to handing the medal over at the war memorial. Bendigo is full of history as William is 4th generation Australian,
Sarah has met Prince Charles and visits London each year for a commemorative ceremony of her grandad and the other Victoria cross recipients.
Queen Victoria designed the victoria cross medal for what was meant to be for all gallant soldiers but they changed it to the bravest soldiers.
We asked Sarah, “When you see memorials and graves how do you feel?” She explained that she “feels for the people that died, & knows what they went through.”
Sarah read the following poem at the 8.30am Anzac Service in Eaglehawk:
LANDING IN THE DAWN by John Sandes
Night and those shadowy ships with heroes freighted! Before them the destroyers race, bows under, guiding and guarding till the moment fated.
Dawn and a Deed that makes the wide world wonder! Thus Australasia came to her day of sacrifice and glory. For when the dawn, with blood-red banners streaming, touched the beach, on which the foe took station, lo, Australasia, roused from her deep dreaming, turned in her sleep, and sobbed, and woke a Nation. And now, amid her sorely-thinned battalions with tear-wet eyes for her lost sons, to the living, she speaketh:
At the reaping and the shearing, at the sawmill and the mine, in the stockyard and the clearing, at the pressing of the vine, by the camp-fire of the drover, by the fence with sliprail drawn, men will tell the story over of that landing in the dawn.
In the pride of those who vaunt you, in their praise from day to day, in the songs of those who chant you, in the tears of those who pray, in the thoughts of those who love you, in your countrys deep heart-core, though strange grasses wave above you, you shall live for evermore. Though times and seasons bring to earth-folk burdens vast, petty cares and selfish treasons, shutting out the glorious past. Not forgotten nor forsaken are the lads no longer here; I shall call and you will waken on this one day of the year.
In the breaking morns first glimmer when the silver half-lights come, I shall see your baynets shimmer, I shall give you greeting home. When the dawn-wind passes near me, where the cloud and mountain meet, I shall know that you can hear me by the rushing of your feet. Then, by grace of God above you, Oh my sons come back to-day In the thoughts of those who love you, in the tears of those who pray. This I know and nothing surer Is from heavenly wisdom drawn Earth is sweeter, nobler, purer.
For your Landing in the Dawn.