Stawell cadet unit to mark ANZAC centenary

STAWELL - As the centenary of ANZAC approaches the 303 Army Cadet Unit in Stawell will be doing its best to look the part and commemorate the significant anniversary.

Seven members will don a period costume at the 2015 services thanks to the efforts of unit Lieutenant Aaron Croft and an RSL grant of $6,100.

For Mr Croft the ability for his peers to be fitted out in the historical attire will be the culmination of four years of hard work.

The unit will undertake their cenotaph duties in world war one costumes and proceed to complete a rifle drill with 303 rifles.

It is expected the uniforms will be on show at the dawn and main service in Stawell and possibly the Great Western service.

"There comes a time when I think it is important to remember what people who have come before us have done," Mr Croft said.

"As army cadets we have a responsibility to keep the spirit and respect that they showed when they came ashore, alive."

The uniforms won't be worn as a one off with plans to mark the centenary of each of the years of the great war (2015-2018).

Cadets will be fitted into the lawrance ordinance 1908 pattern commonwealth uniform over the next couple of months.

They will remain in the current Disruptive Pattern Combat Uniform (DPCU) for this year's April 25 services.

Despite shutting down between the second world war and when it reopened in the 1970s the 303 Army Cadet Unit in Stawell is one of the oldest in Victoria.

The Victoria Australia Army Cadets is a leading national youth development organisation with the character and values of the Australian Army, founded on a strong community partnership.

It is open to young people (both male and female) aged 12.5 to 18 years old and gives them a chance to develop their leadership potential, learn teamwork and develop new skills by taking part in a range of activities such as community work and adventure activities.

There are currently a dozen cadets in the Stawell unit, but it can cater for up to 27.

"We may be a small number at the moment but we are strong in character," Mr Croft said.

"One of the great things about our cadets is that they'll come to us young and naive, but leave full of confidence.

"I've been involved for the last 11 years and it is one of the best things I have ever been a part of."

The Stawell contingent of cadets meet every Wednesday night between 6.30pm and 9.30pm in the SES Hall in Sloane Street.

For more information or how to become involved contact Aaron Croft on 0419 394 554.

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