‘The Anzac Spirit was born at Gallipoli in 1915. Since then it has been demonstrated not only by Australians in war but also by those whose contribution has been in other fields.’
As each year enters the pages of history, it can be recognized that the Anzac spirit after years of endurance, experience and growing has continuously been demonstrated in various situations that this country and its people have encountered. In each instance we can identify the Anzac spirit that was given birth in 1915 and how it has been maintained and emulated on by generations after. Though the cost of such a birth laid in the bloodshed of many nearly a century ago. Australians even today, as a nation has not let the great foundation achievements of the past become but remnants in our daily lives, yet from everything positive gained from the Gallipoli experience and formation of the Anzac spirit, we have persevere to allow it to constantly influence the lives of this growing nation. The Anzac spirit can be described in many words, and be listed endlessly for the fields in which it has been demonstrated in. 2001, the ‘Year Of The Volunteers’, significantly serves as one of the greatest fields that the Anzac spirit has been demonstrated. Volunteers are defined as those who give or offer their help willingly, without being compelled or paid. Through understanding however, the term volunteer and those who entitle such a name are known to encase much willingness to sacrifice, give, endure, encourage and show selflessness, determination, courage and give a modernized application of mateship.
The shaping of attitudes and strengths in our society has taken the length of our complex and endeavoring history. As we, a nation annually remember the Great War (1914-1918), the keen and willing Australians who set foot on foreign shores to not only fight for their country and fight for what is today, but also to satisfy that sense of enthusiasm and curiosity that is apart of the Australian character. Such character has no doubt stood the test of time, as those whose lives have been touched by the efforts of volunteers would agree on. The volunteers of today, like those of the past, strived and succeeded in making a difference in their school, community or even country because of their patience and enthusiasm; characteristics which are recognized as apart of the Anzac spirit. Often however, good intentions don’t always end up with advantageous and welcoming results, and there lies no difference in the work of volunteers. The similar feelings of hardship, pain and even disappointment felt by the Anzacs as they were landed on those foreign shores can be mirrored to the feelings that volunteers must often overcome to achieve a positive and changing result from their service. Encountering criticism, conflicts and obstacles in their course to help and make a difference, volunteers must possess great patience, determination and selflessness to continue with their work.
Today, if we all look around and observe those who surround us, surely the people in this most fortunate country can identify the demonstration of the Anzac spirit and its specific application in the service of volunteering.
Being an immigrant to Australia and one who has learnt to accept this country as home, my origin of descent has no direct relationship with the birth of the Anzac spirit however in the years in which I’ve grown up in this country and made it home, I can surely recognize the relevance of the spirit. The church, to which I attend, is surely one exceptional example. Though the people who attend this church are of majority migrants to Australia and have grown up learning of a very different culture and history, the application of the Anzac spirit is as relevant to them, as to any other group of Australians and in any other field. Celebrating its twentieth anniversary, the community church has develop through those two decades through the efforts of many of whom who have volunteered their service to the building of the church. Some of those offer their service do so in numerous ways, whether it be giving up a few hours in their week to offer help in translating for some of the newer migrants or driving those without transport to the church each Sunday, to not only allow them to continue in their beliefs but too show them the support and comfort available from the close knit community. These people, all of whom have only in some fraction of their life, known Australia to be home, have and are demonstrating daily the Anzac spirit. Though it was born nearly a century ago and to the people of Australia at the time, the Anzac spirit is very much still alive today and apart of people who before would have had no direct link with it. It is then witnessed that the changing image of Australia, the multicultural society we have accepted, has not at all loss any of Australia’s significant and important characteristics, but instead, only adapted them to others, whether they be the younger generations of Australia or those who have only recently called themselves Australians.
During the hard times of the war and to the true defence of their nation and at the time ‘mother country’, the Anzacs stepped out of their boundaries of comfort to do what they could. They were often separated from the life they had previously known, to instead adopt one in which they found the bond of mateship, out of the need for physical as well as emotional survival and showed to others overseas and at home the courage of the people of the young but growing nation. Close to a century on, volunteers too demonstrate courage and find ultimate bonds of mateship with others as they determinedly help the less fortunate or work for a cause that they believe in.
The Anzac spirit is present all around us. From the lending hand of the those in the local Christmas dinner rallies, to the car pool that occurs each Sunday to a local event or a companion to lend support, every action that creates a better outlook for even one individual or small area in itself encases the spirit that the Australian men and women in the 1910’s demonstrated and made known to the world. As this nation grows on its strong firm foundation and reflect on its past, the future can entirely be looked at with hope, because as each year enters the pages of history, it is with certainty noted that the Anzac spirit is too growing with the years. More Australians, in wider fields, of different nationalities and background, proudly demonstrate it. The significant spirit of the Anzacs has never ceased to flourish through the vast lands of this nation since the date of its birth and eternally will be etched in the characters of Australians.
Blanders, M.G (1999) Australia: all our yesterdays Addison Wesley Longman Australia
Sekuless, P. & Rees, J. (1986) Lest We Forget Pubby Ridgy Publications, N.S.W.
Simmelhaig, H. & Spenceley GFR. (1984) For Australia’s Sake Thomas Nelson Australia, Melbourne.
Shipstone, G. (1997) Key Questions in Australian History Oxford University Press Australia.
Frame, T. "A devastating defeat" The Canberra Times 21st April 1990
"Gallipoli Campaign" Microsoft Encarta 1995 CD ROM
"ANZAC" Fast Facts File- Australian Things
Return to List of Winners 2002