Maheno School pupils experienced the trip of a lifetime when they were part of Anzac Day celebrations at Fraser Island in Australia.
The school were invited to the service on Fraser Island after Australians heard they had the only surviving piece of the ship, which was the bell the school received back in 1967.
They were in Australia for a week and were part of a cocktail night on Tuesday where they presented one of their two replica bells to the Maritime Museum in Brisbane.
Mr Fraser said it was an absolutely amazing experience.
“The trip has been amazing, our children have been fantastic ambassadors for the school, community and country.”
The trip included two major Anzac services and the children visited the Australian Zoo in Brisbane.
At the cocktail night on the Tuesday, Maheno School received a large surprise.
A private funder provided money for a replica bell for the school, which Mr Fraser said they were honoured to receive.
“It was an awesome gesture, We can’t ring the original because of damage so they decided to make us one that we could ring. It will be heard from the whole of Maheno when the school ring it,” he said.
“We never expected anything like that so it’s great seeing the Anzac spirit is alive and well.”
The replica bell will be the new school bell, while the original will be put on a display at the school.
Nearly 800 people attended the “one of a kind” Anzac Service at Fraser Island where the school were asked to ring the bell eight times and do a haka, which received a warming reception.
Mr Fraser said the meal on the day was amazing.
“It was great eating ham, pork, fish, broccoli, carrots and potatoes, then plum pudding and custard. It was very nice.”
Maheno School teacher Kiri Ballantyne, who was part of the trip along with her two pupils, said the most memorable part of the trip was viewing the Maheno for the first time.
“Seeing the Maheno for the first time was the most memorable part of the trip for me, it was very emotional to have the whole reason for the trip to finally be right in front of us, so special.”
Mrs Ballantyne said the whole trip was absolutely mindblowing and there was some emotion when they found out about the replica bell they were receiving.
The school bells are being shipped back home.
By Brayden Lindsay
PHOTO: SUPPLIED – Maheno School pupils and staff with the wreck of the World War 1 hospital ship Maheno at Fraser Island, Australia.