By Meredith Williams
The annual Bangka Day Memorial Service is held at the South Australian Women’s Memorial Playing Fields, St Marys and is the only service of its kind in Australia.
It commemorates all women who served and died in the Australian Defence Force, but in particular plays tribute to the Bangka nurses.
This year the service was held on Sunday 16 February 2020 in honour of the 1942 sinking of the SS Vyner Brooke off the Coast of Bangka Island, near Sumatra.
The execution of Australian Nurses by Japanese forces on Bangka Island, including Elaine Balfour-Ogilvy (Woodlands CEGGS Old Scholar), was told by lone survivor Sister Vivian Bullwinkel.
Woodlands Church of England Girls Grammar School would commemorate this anniversary by having their current School Captains attend the ceremony. This tradition is continued to this day with a representative of the SPW Old Scholars’ Association attending each year.
Elaine Balfour-Ogilvy left a legacy in the form of the Elaine Balfour Ogilvy Scholarship, offered to girls in their final year of schooling. This scholarship is funded by the Old Scholars’ and is eligible for girls who attend an Anglican School (including interstate), are currently completing Year 11 and whose mother, grandmother or great-grandmother attended.
In honour of the extraordinary women who made the ultimate sacrifice and who shall never be forgotten, The Women’s Memorial Playing Fields was established – a dedicated facility suitable for developing women’s participation in sport.
For more information about Old Scholars, contact Meredith Williams, Community Development Manager.