Victorian Association of Jewish Ex & Servicemen & Women Australia Incorporated

Founding Member General Sir John Monash GCMG KCB VD

Written on October 9, 2011

Commemorative Service for Sir John Monash

by Ryan Erskine CUO Scotch College Army Cadet Unit

As the CUO of the Scotch College Army Cadet Unit I was given the privilege of attending the commemorative service held to mark the occasion of the 80th Anniversary of the passing of one of this nation’s finest, Sir John Monash.

On a cold, wet and windy Sunday morning a large group of people braved the Melbourne weather to honour the memory of General Sir John Monash GCMG KCB VD. Monash had been a former student of Scotch College, having attended the school in 1880, where he excelled as dux of the school. As students we are humbled by this connection; indeed the famous gates that mark entry to the school, along with one of the school’s twelve houses, are named in his honour.

As cadets we take pride in the fact that one of the greatest Australian soldiers came from our ranks.  The accounts of Monash’s bravery, leadership, loyalty and tactical ability in the face of great adversity are still to this day acknowledged as being a clinical display of strategy, and have helped shape modern day warfare. Indeed hearing Major General McLachlen AO’s account of how Monash, at the end of the First World War, refused to leave Europe until all of the men under his command had been repatriated home to Australia, reinforced to me the outstanding and selfless character of Sir John Monash.  

Not only was Sir John a great scholar and soldier, he also enjoyed a rich and successful career following the war.  Many of his legacies in planning and architecture are proudly on display throughout Melbourne.  We heard at the commemorative service how, during his time at the State Electricity Commission, Monash’s vision brought electricity to rural Victoria.  It is no wonder, given his significant contributions to our nation, that major freeways and universities today carry his name.

As I finish my final years of secondary schooling and prepare for my Year 12 examinations, I take with me that much of Monash’s success was due to his meticulous planning of each day and his attention to detail, accepting nothing but giving his best.

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