The Gallipoli Scholarship Fund was founded in 1996 as a result of a donation of $6,000 from a World War I Veterans Association which had met annually prior to Anzac Day for a number of years at the Merrylands RSL Club, in western Sydney.
Bill Hall, a World War II veteran from the Battle of Milne Bay in New Guinea, had been a co-ordinator of the WWI Association for a number of years, organising numerous day trips for the veterans around Sydney. As the veterans aged they began meeting annually at the Merrylands RSL Club. In 1990 Bill was a carer for four members of the group when they revisited Gallipoli for the 75th anniversary of the campaign with other veterans from around the country, under the auspices of then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke. In the mid-1990s, under the Chairmanship of Charles Mance, the Association members resolved to perpetuate a better understanding of the Gallipoli campaign, particularly among younger people, and sought Bill’s assistance in establishing the Gallipoli Scholarship.
In 1996, Bill approached Major General Arthur Fittock AO (Retd) to establish and administer the Scholarship Fund. General Fittock formed a Management Committee and registered the Gallipoli Scholarship Fund, attracting tax deductible donations from RSL and Service Clubs, RSL Sub-Branches and other organisations, foundations and individuals to ensure the Scholarship's long-term sustainability.
General Fittock was the Fund’s first Chairman and retired from the position in July 2016. Major General Michael Smith, who followed as Chairman, paid tribute to Arthur's work, noting that the establishment and sustainability of the Scholarship was due to Arthur's dedication, strong leadership and persistence.
In 2006 the first Scholarships honouring the efforts of Bill Hall were granted. Among other things the name and memory of Bill Hall provides the opportunity to highlight the 1939-45 War activities of Australian soldiers at the battle of Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea - a battle which saw the first defeat of enemy forces on land in the Asia- Pacific area.
William (Bill) Henry Sutherland Hall (pictured at right) was born on 29th May 1919 in Sydney. In August 1939, Bill enlisted in the Army as a Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant with the number NX 210, (New South Wales Expeditionary Force). Bill was a very good organiser, brilliant with figures, and as a consequence was frequently seconded to logistics and organisational tasks within the armed forces.
His overseas service included the United Kingdom; Giarrabub, the siege of Tobruk, and Syria in the Middle East; the Pacific Islands; Milne Bay, Nadzab, Lae and the Ramu Valley campaign in Papua New Guinea.
Bill enjoyed his service years and stayed in the Army after the war, finally being discharged in 1946 with the rank of Major. His involvement with the Army continued for all of his life through service to the RSL, Veterans’ Association, Veteran’s Affairs, the First World War Diggers, Legacy, the Krait Memorial, The Rats of Tobruk Association, and the Gallipoli Scholarship Fund.
Bill passed away on 14th February 2003 in Sydney.
Purpose of the Scholarship
The Gallipoli Scholarship commemorates the legacy of Australian servicemen and servicewomen who served in either World War I or World War II. The Scholarship seeks to perpetuate among young Australians an understanding of those enduring traditions of perseverance, courage, self-sacrifice and mateship that were established so indelibly in the cause of world peace at Gallipoli and thereafter on other battlefields in the First and Second World Wars.
The Scholarship provides financial assistance to the most deserving and meritorious Australian applicants, commencing their first year of tertiary study at a University or TAFE at Degree, Diploma or Advanced Diploma level, in the year of application. In assessing suitability for an award, a 60% weighting applies to necessitous circumstances and a 40% weighting to educational merit. Currently, the Scholarship does not extend beyond one year.
Scholarship applicants must be able to verify family lineage to an Australian who served for Australia in either World War I or World War II. They must be a direct descendant.
Each Scholarship is worth $5,000 tax free, paid in two tranches: the first in April at the presentation ceremony, and the second on successful completion of the first semester providing the recipient is continuing their studies at university or TAFE (the latter at Degree, Diploma or Advanced Diploma level).