KELMSCOTT Senior High School head boy Kallum Phillips will be exploring Australia’s military involvement in Malaysia and taking part in the Anzac Day dawn service at the former Sandakan prisoner of war camp.
Kallum (16) has been selected for the 2016 Premier’s 10-day Anzac Tour from April 17-27 which will travel to Labuan and Sabah.
The Anzac Day service will be conducted by the War Graves Commission at the Sandakan camp, which is now a heritage memorial.
It will cover Australia’s military involvement in the region during World War II, the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesian Confrontation.
He had to write a 1000 word essay based on the theme “how do wartime pressures unite and divide West Australians” and attend an interview with the Malaysian Consul General and Department of Education staff.
“I was over the moon when I was selected,” he said.
“There is only so much you can learn in text books.
“I really wanted to apply firsthand the knowledge and get a contextual understanding of what some of the soldiers went through, especially during the Sandakan death marches.”
Kallum said he had a deep interest in military history, with his grandmother’s second cousin serving on HMAS Sydney when it was sunk and his great grandfather was captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore and was a prisoner of war at the notorious Changi Prison.
He is also pursuing a career in the Royal Australian Navy as a maritime warfare officer and hopes one day to command a warship.
Kelmscott Senior High School principal Trevlyn Geiles said he was proud of Kallum’s achievements and he would be an outstanding ambassador for the school and WA.
“He has exceptional leadership qualities and he typifies what we are seeking in terms of students in their desire to learn,” he said.
More than 100 students applied for the tour, with 10 students and three teachers and supervisors taking part.