PAMS 2019

The 2019 Premier’s Anzac Memorial Scholarship (PAMS) tour took place from 27 September to 12 October 2019 and for the first time the tour travelled to Germany. Twenty students from high schools all over NSW were selected to participate in this once in a life-time experience as Premier’s Anzac Memorial Scholars.

 PAMS schlars in Munich

2019 PAMS group in Munich with local tour guide Martine 

 The tour began in Munich, with Oktoberfest in full swing. During an engaging walking tour of the city the students visited key sites relating to the history of the Third Reich, including the location of the Brown House, headquarters of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP, or Nazi Party), where a Documentation Centre now stands, and the area where the “Beer Hall Putsch” led by Adolf Hitler, took place in 1923.  The group then continued to Dachau, where they spent two nights. The scholars visited the moving Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site and retraced the steps of the Jewish prisoners from the camp back to the Railway Station on the Walk of Remembrance.

The next stop was Nuremburg where the scholars went to Courtroom 600, the location of the Nuremburg Trials in 1945 and 1946, and the Nazi Party Rally Grounds including the Documentation Centre on the site. The students learned about why Nuremburg was chosen as the official city of the Nazi Party Rallies and how the monumental structures on the site were examples of architecture used as propaganda, designed to impress and intimidate the  hundreds of thousands of attendees at the highly orchestrated rallies, but also to build a sense of community in support of the Reich.

Two nights did not seem like enough time in Nuremburg, which has a rich history and boasts a beautiful ‘Old Town’, much of it rebuilt after intensive bombing during the war.

 At lake Dutzendteich

PAMS students at Lake Dutzendteich, with the Congress Hall in the background. Nuremburg Rally Grounds, Germany

 The trip from Nuremburg to Berlin is a six-hour drive and while this was long and tiring, seeing famous sites such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag Building, Unter den Linden, Bebelplatz, the site of Hitler’s Bunker and the Holocaust Memorial reinvigorated everyone. The group also visited cultural institutions such as the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Topography of Terror and the Berlin Story Museum, where they learned about Jewish history and culture, the crimes of the Gestapo, and the Schutzstaffel, or SS, and how Hitler and the Nazi Party were able to successfully radicalise the German people to support their horrifying agenda.

After this whirlwind visit it was time to leave Germany and the sites relating to the history of the Third Reich and fly to Brussels to begin the section of the tour relating to the First World War. The group stayed at the Peace Village in, Messines, West Flanders. Messines saw the first large-scale military action involving Australian troops in Belgium and the Peace Village ‘s location makes it an ideal place to explore the Western Front.

The first day saw the group visit the New Zealand Memorial at Messines Ridge, as well as Hill 60 and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) cemeteries at Hooge Crater, Polygon Wood and Tyne Cot. The Langemark German Cemetery was a fascinating contrast to the CWGC cemeteries. It is darker and more sombre, planted with tall oak trees, the national tree of Germany, which overarch the graves of over 40,000 German soldiers. Almost 25,000 German soldiers and airmen are placed in a mass grave called the Kameraden Grab or Comrades Grave.

One of the Peace Village’s aims is to spread the message of peace, and the scholars were also able to join in activities and workshops designed to help communicate this ideal.

Malcolm walking the CWGC Cemetry in Belgium


PAMS Scholar Malcolm walking through the Hooge Crater CWGC Cemetery, Belgium - Photograph courtesy of Andrew Phelps

The following day brought a highlight of the whole tour as the scholars represented NSW by participating in the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres. Two scholars laid a wreath during the ceremony and the remainder formed a guard of honour, standing still while attendees selected to lay wreaths walked between them and hundreds of people from all over the world gathered to remember and pay their respects.

The group left Belgium the next day, driving to Amiens in France via the famous beach at Dunkirk from where over 330,000 Allied soldiers were evacuated as German forces invaded France in 1940. At the Dunkirk War Museum, the scholars learned not only about the evacuation but the devastating impact of the invasion on the local population and those soldiers left behind who became prisoners of war.

A special stop along the way was made at the Underground City of Naours, in the Somme Valley, where the students saw graffiti drawn by Australian soldiers during the First World War. The underground cave network was a popular destination for soldiers on leave or convalescing behind the front lines, and the caves feature the largest concentration of WW1 inscriptions on the Western Front.

From Amiens the group visited the First World War battlefields and memorials of the Somme, including the very moving Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, designed by Edwin Lutyens, which lists the names of over 70,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces whose bodies were never found. This was followed by the Australian memorials at Pozieres, Le Hamel and Villers-Bretonneux and the recently built Sir John Monash Centre, which tells the stories of the Australians who fought and died on the Western front through images and personal accounts found in letters and diaries.

Emily and Zara standing at point 1 of the Trench Experience in Belgium

PAMS Scholars Emily and Zara at the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 Trench Experience, Zonnebeke, Belgium, Photograph courtesy of Andrew Phelps

On the final day of touring, the scholars visited the Normandy coast and the beaches of the D-Day landings, including Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach and Gold Beach as well as the Coleville Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. After staying overnight in Caen, the group headed to Paris for one last day in France before flying home to Sydney. The City of Light and the famous landmarks of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées, as well as a river cruise on the Seine, were a wonderful way to conclude an unforgettable trip.

3 scholars in front of Paris' Eiffel Tower

PAMS Scholars Juliette, Ethan and Luiza in Paris in front of the Eiffel Tower - Photograph courtesy of Andrew Phelps

The 2019 Premier’s Anzac Memorial Scholarship program was managed by the NSW Office for Veterans Affairs, Department of Communities and Justice, in consultation with the NSW Department of Education.

Scholars were selected based on their genuine interest in Australian history and the Anzac tradition, their positive contribution to their school community and their ability to be outstanding representatives for their school and the state of NSW.

The Scholarship provided the students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of the history of Australia’s involvement in both World Wars. The three accompanying teachers also shared the knowledge they gained through the tour with colleagues in their own schools and beyond with essays published in 2020 editions of the History Teachers Association of NSW’s quarterly journal Teaching History.

PAMS 2019 – Scholarship recipients 


Caringbah High School

Luiza Dorfman Knijnik

Carlingford High School

Siena Lucas

Cecil Hills High School

Tiana Wasif

Champagnat Catholic College

Ethan De Freitas

Charlton Christian College

Ayden Murray

Coonabarabran High School

Cobey Smith

Crestwood High School

Andrew Phelps

Erskine Park High School

Keira Eadon

Goulburn High School

Bradley McGoogan

Great Lakes College Tuncurry Campus

Byron Panos

Holsworthy High School

Keira Hine

Jamison High School

Emily Grima

Merewether High School

Hannah Harrison

Monte Sant' Angelo

Juliette Dwyer

Nowra Christian School

Micah Perry

St Brigid's Catholic College

Bella Umback

St John Paul II Catholic College

Hayley Ling

St Patrick's College for Girls

Zara Hart

St Stanislaus' College

Malcolm Bartlett

The Forest High School

Sam Kosack




Further information

Please contact the Office for Veterans Affairs by phone (02) 8061 9288 or