Minako Aresh
Hornsby Girls’ High School
New South Wales

The Anzac Spirit was born in 1915 in Gallipoli. Since then it has been demonstrated in military achievements and in other fields.

The Anzac spirit that is ingrained in every Australian today and which Australians demonstrate not only in war but in other fields such as health, voluntary service and sport, was born at Gallipoli in 1915. From the beginning, Gallipoli was by no means a military achievement, the Australians landing in the wrong area. It is in the way they fought, as Australians, against impossible odds, – with heroism, patriotism, determination, stoical bravery, mateship, initiative and resourcefulness, that the torch of the Anzac Spirit was kindled." Qualities moulded to create a national identity.

"A gallanter body of men never existed," than the 250 000 volunteers who fought for Britannia! Untried, what they lacked in experience, they made up with mateship and comradeship. F. Farrall's consistent refusal to leave his front line battalion for relative safety because "that would have meant leaving my mates" displays exactly this. Their actions led a Marshall to say he had "never seen any (soldiers) who carried themselves more nobly in battle, more daring or more stout-heartedly". Private Jacka’s incredible heroism and bravery embodies exactly that. While his company created a diversion to pin down Turks, Jacka charged forward alone and jumped into a trench held by nine enemy soldiers, retaking bay position. As one general said, "the spirit shown was wonderful." The Anzacs fought without a "murmur of complaint… always cheerful – cracking jokes, laughing, singing…" In fact, "Good luck, old chap", and "Play yer next Saturday," were the only 'murmurs' heard – said to the Turks as they parted after the Anzacs had, hearing the cries of the wounded enemies, walked into No Man's Land to help the enemy bury their dead and remove the wounded. As seen, the Anzacs consistently tackled hardships with humour. Responding to Turkish cries of "Allah Allah!" they cried, "Backsheesh!" Inventiveness, the creation of the periscope rifle by W.C.B. Beach; initiative, improvisation of "bombs" made from jam-tins and other fragments; and resourcefulness, short of bombs, they hurled enemy bombs back at the Turks before they exploded, are also constituents of the spirit. The contribution of women to this spiritual equation cannot be forgotten. The courage and sacrifice of nurses, who nursed the stricken back to health and those back on home soil, who produced essentials during the war, are very much a part of the Anzac spirit.

Although the Gallipoli campaign had been a failure, a spirit had been born, and through all other military conflicts Australians have fought in, including World War 2 (WW2) and Vietnam, it has been demonstrated.

Britain's declaration of war upon Germany resulted in Australia's involvement in WW2. 20 000 volunteered, "joining out of a sense of loyalty to the British Empire," to fight for "freedom and kindliness," and "for my pal," said one recruit demonstrating mateship. Accounts of soldiers singing 'Roll out the Barrel' with such cheerfulness "you'd think they were going to a picnic", as they endured the toughest of times at the Battle of Bardia, shows the spirit, very much alive. The good humour of determined men "sick, wounded ... proud, (as they endured the) rising and falling jungle-clad (Kokoda track, remained ever-present, captured Japanese camps being labelled) Under New Management" Through the soldiers the spirit shone, but also through the doctors, surgeons, nurses, and the 66 000 women engaged in active air and naval service, helping to save lives.

Partly as an "act of support for our American allies", Australian combat troops were sent to Vietnam where there were many acts of self-sacrificing courage. Braving the enemy's fire were the helicopter pilots of the RAAF who ferried troops to safety of base camp or the hospital. The Vietnam veteran demonstrated the spirit of Anzac in its every form, such as "extraordinary heroism and resourcefulness". An ambush by the Viet Cong at Long Tan was courageously turned into a notable victory. Jungle warfare tactics had initiative and inventiveness on display. If an Australian were to encounter the enemy, his companions would close in and attack from all sides, thus taking the enemy by surprise and reducing the danger to themselves.

Australia's military, all too ready to help out in civil emergencies like floods, bushfires, and cyclones, continue to demonstrate the indomitable Anzac spirit. For over forty years, Peacekeeping troops have left their families to distribute humanitarian aid and help restore peace to places like Somalia and East Timor.

The Anzac spirit is not confined to the battlefield but is demonstrated by countless Australians whose contributions have been in fields including health, voluntary service and sport. Selflessly helping others, J. Kirkpatric's actions epitomised the spirit and are echoed by 3 million Australian volunteers who sacrifice personal time to help others. Existence of such groups as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army and the continual support they receive from the community in form of donations is covenant of the spirit. Volunteers are involved in community-based organizations such as the Volunteer Fire Brigade and Voluntary Rescue Association, devoted to those in physical trouble and aiding in natural disasters. The success of the 2000 Olympics was said to be due to the record number of volunteers, who were, as others, 'guided' by the spirit born at Gallipoli,

In the field of health, the spirit is tirelessly demonstrated. Founding of community-based organizations such as the AIDS Council, which provide support and care to those suffering aids is one example. Considered as the "greatest contribution," is the Flying Doctor Service, operating 24 hours 365 days, providing healthcare to remote areas in Australia. Then there are the individuals who "kinder the flame born at Gallipoli". People like Fred Hollows who, like the Anzacs, swore and drank. A man with a passion to help others, 'furiously determined" and optimistic. The pioneer of the treatment of trachoma, after courageously aiding Aborigines, Hollows showed initiative-raising money to continue to aid overseas victims 23 Then there is Dr. Jim. Baker, who "horrified and appalled by the lack of facilities for country women," sacrificed his successful private practice to set up a flying ‘medico service,' which has included flying out for 1100 emergency callouts.

Gallipoli made men "Australians," and nowhere like in sport is this unification through spirit seen. Culminating the Anzac spirit are the athletes and their loyal fans. Wimbledon 2001 was a "throwback to the real spirit of Gallipoli" loyal Aussies' travelling to London to support their countryman, Rafter, who in his handling of a "heroic defeat" stereotyped the spirit: "resourceful, tenacious, laconic and modest." The Sydney Olympics epitomised the spirit in Australian sport. For their country, the athletes trekked up their 'cliff,' against a background of loyal green and gold and a constant chant of "Aussie ... Oi Oi Oi". In the 49.11 seconds C. Freeman took to run the 400m, again, "everyone was an Australian without qualification". "Courage and determination, testimony to the spirit were displayed in the most trying times an athlete will face. Dion Russel "called on (his Anzac) spirit of grit and sheer determination," after hitting the wall during his event, getting back on his feet and finishing 27th, Australians embraced their competitors such as Erik "The Eel' warmly, just as the Anzacs assisted their enemies.

To watch the little Scout boy assist an elderly woman cross the road as the cars slow down for them, is to see the spirit truly alive in our communities and our society. To witness teenagers weep while watching the movie Gallipoli is to see that this spirit, created back in 1915 is still being kindled today. In our military and through the fields of health, voluntary service and sport.


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